What could be entertaining about a movie that only shows two astronauts in space? Well, in the hands of Alfonso Cuarón, a story that is not only exciting but also visually amazing. A decade ago, Gravedad (96%), directed by the award-winning Mexican filmmaker and co-written by himself with Jonás Cuarón, his son, arrived in theaters as an innovative proposal, full of science fiction and with the promise of keeping the bar high within the filmography of this director. What no one was prepared for was for this movie to literally blow audiences’ minds.
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Starring Sandra Bullock as Dr. Ryan Stone, a science engineer who, after six months of training at NASA, travels into space to connect a high-speed scanning device to the Hubble telescope. She is not alone on this mission, and accompanying her is Matt Kowalski (George Clooney), a space veteran who plans to retire after completing this task. The tape also has the voices of several actors, highlighting that of Ed Harris, who is the control bridge for this mission from Houston, Texas.
Until then everything seems normal, any science fiction movie, until problems begin to appear and the story becomes more suspenseful. The space thriller is completely absorbing; In the attempt to repair a satellite, they end up getting involved in an accident that leaves them adrift, among the rubble of old crews and little time to act quickly. In the process, Matt saves her from going into the void with him, and Dr. Stone manages to get into an International Space Station with low oxygen.
Gravity (96%) leaves you on the edge of your seat until the last few minutes of the story because it’s not really sure that the protagonist is going to survive, since she has no way to communicate with Earth and everything goes wrong for her. For this reason, we say that the film has more space suspense than being just a science fiction film, and that has been an element that fascinated critics at the time. That, and the technical invoice, gave it a lot of praise because it is notorious how impressive it is visually. Undoubtedly, a great job by the entire team that was rewarded with a large number of nominations and awards.
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The project of Alfonso Cuaron it dominated awards season that year. Being a British co-production, it also obtained important triumphs at the BAFTAs and at both the Oscars and the Golden Globes it dominated in the Best Director category. Other awards generally went to his photography, soundtrack, editing and visual effects, although for the performance of Sandra Bullock it also garnered a few nominations.
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, it also did well at the box office, making it one of the best-performing films of that year. Not bad for a production that cost $80 million to $130 million to take home more than $700 million. Cuarón established a greater and better legacy with this important film without knowing that it would represent so many triumphs for him, much less that in his next project (Roma (99%)) he would win the Oscar consecutively for his direction.
A decade after its premiere, we review the opinion of the critics, who highlight the work of the Mexican filmmaker for his visual proposal and his ability to move and fill the public with tension; qualities almost intact after all that time. This is what the media said:
Candice Frederick’s Reel Talk Online:
With its themes of spirituality, religion, birth, rebirth and hope, Gravity is a film that will move audiences in many ways. That’s the beauty of it; transcends genres, generations and times, a modern classic.
J Hoberman of The New York Review of Books:
A survival drama set almost entirely in the bottomless abyss of outer space, Gravity Now is something quite rare: a truly popular big-budget Hollywood film with a rich aesthetic payoff.
Jason Bailey’s flavorwire:
It’s a big, bold movie that refuses to be coy, and it left me shaking. It’s not just a movie; it’s something that happens to you.
Jonathan Romney’s Sight&Sound:
This is a story about people floating in space, and Alfonso Cuarón’s feature manages brilliantly to make the viewer feel equally untethered, often to thrilling effect. It is surely the closest that cinema comes to three-dimensional virtual rappelling.
Sandra Hall’s Sydney Morning Herald:
It’s a technical marvel, appropriately impressive in its evocation of the vastness of space and the beatings suffered by the two astronauts in their efforts to anchor themselves to something solid. But Cuarón also knows how suspense works.
Kate Erbland’s Film School Rejects:
An absolute technical marvel in every possible way: from the cinematography to the special effects, sound design and score, all the technical parts of Gravity work together in perfect harmony for maximum efficiency.
Cody Dericks of Next Best Picture:
While his script doesn’t quite take off, its sound and visuals make this journey into outer space an unforgettable cinematic experience.
Peter Bradshaw’s Guardian:
Director/co-writer Cuarón brilliantly manages to create awe at glorious vistas of space and heartbreaking tension at what happens in the foreground.
Ian Nathan’s Empire Magazine:
Mark Kermode’s Observer (UK):
Created through a careful blend of physical and digital performance that breaks down the divide between live action and animation, Gravity boasts a level of sheer visual invention that would have left Stanley Kubrick’s head spinning.
Nigel Andrews of Financial Times:
It’s a bumpy ride, with two travelers carrying, some will argue, an excess baggage of charisma. But it’s a trip no fan of space shows should miss.
Alissa Wilkinson’s Christianity Today:
So it was nice, if a little jarring, to feel myself cringe at the beginning of the movie, when I found myself floating above the surface of the earth for a while in utter silence.
Continue reading: Alfonso Cuarón: his best films according to critics