In many ways the most important ingredient in Gravity is Sandra Bullock. Without her movie-star charisma and everywoman relatability, the film wouldn’t work nearly as well as it does. It is essential that we identify with her character and connect with her roller-coaster swell of feelings as she finds herself adrift in outer space. I hesitate to describe her adventure any further, as I think audiences should experience the journey for themselves.
George Clooney is ideal as her lighthearted partner in the space mission; his casting is as canny as Bullock’s. Cuarón counts on the friendly, familiar personas of these stars to make us feel comfortable as we begin our odyssey into the unknown.
It takes a supremely confident filmmaker to trust his content (and cast) by shooting long, unbroken takes, but that is the visual hallmark of this daring film. Cuarón doesn’t feel the need to show off, and he knows that Bullock and Clooney will hold our attention. (I can’t wait to see the making-of documentary to learn how he and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki accomplished their goals, using unprecedented techniques and custom-made machinery.
Gravity is a genuine original in every possible way: involving and immersive, moving and memorable. It’s definitely worth seeing in 3-D, although the real dimensionality lies in the concept and the screenplay as much as any photographic technique.
For once, at least, the hype over a new Hollywood movie is justified.