You know what’s crazy? I’ll tell you what’s crazy™
It’s a special effects master piece.
Space feels real. It’s dark. It’s lonely. It’s Expansive. It’s dangerous.
The Earth is so close the characters can touch it, but somehow it is unrecognizable as home.
I give Gravity 4 out of 5 Crazies.
Sandra Bullock will be nominated for an academy award.
She is compelling and believable as a wayward astronaut tumbling alone through the vacuum of the unknown.
The direction is subtle, making me feel like I am inside a space suit.
There are big screen explosions and gee whiz moments. There are also quietly poignant scenes where the director focuses on the character’s strident breathing as her oxygen supply depletes rapidly.
The story stars Sandra Bullock as a one woman cinematic wrecking crew.
George Clooney is a supporting actor, adding much needed comedic moments. He is a space cowboy not afraid of the unknown or dying for a mission.
But it is Sandy Bullock who carries the movie from beginning to end.
She is a scientist forced to be a space survivor. She is a work-a-holic whose life seems to be singularly focused and without much life. She lost a child and has become almost as robotic as the components she is trying to fix.
The story is a classic man – or woman – against environment story.
Space is cold and unforgiving. It is trying to inhale you and consume you and kill you with every passing moment.
The film begins with a space walk. George Clooney is zips through the void on a jet pack. He thrusts forward, then thrusts backward to counter act the inertia.
The director has gone to painstaking lengths to make us feel Newton’s Principals of Gravity.
There is no friction, no air, only movement till a vector changes the movement.
The film escalates in ferocity when a satellite is destroyed. Suddenly a million fragments are flying around the Earth at 50,000 miles an hour. Each piece of metal, some the size of a screw, some the size of a Buick, are flying around the globe like so many assassins bullets.
Every 90 minutes this debris field of death circles the Earth and wreaks havoc on the crew.
After the shuttle is destroyed by this debris field, Bullock is catapoulted into a non stop spin. It is a tireless, endless, spin cycle of insanity that is hard to watch because we only have Earth bound senses trained to think in gravity.
To the audience, the astronaut must be dizzy, spinning endlessly. It is a hard moment to watch because the cinematic effects are so good, you feel like you are inside the helmet with the main character.
Our visual is filtered through our perception which is based in a world of gravity.
But the director has taken a physics class or two, because without gravity, there is nothing.
The only reality for the character is the the void of space, and a periodic glimpse of the Earth, that lasts as long as she faces the planet. She is no more dizzy than if she wasn’t spinning at all.
Heroically, like a cowboy rescuing a damsel in distress, Clooney thrusts into the abyss and plucks Bullock from the periphery of forever.
He tethers her to his jet pack and then sling shots her back to the Shuttle. Like an awkward yo yo of inertia he thrusts through the star field. He is a cosmic po-go stick, sling shotting along a course that only quantum physics can explain.
The Shuttle has sustained catastrophic damage. A fellow astronaut has a hole in his skull the size of a soft ball. Without atmosphere, the void is hollow, without blood, all sucked cleanly into the vacuum of space.
Clooney and Bullock must get to the International Space Station, then to a similarly designed Chinese station if they hope to jettison to Earth.
Every time Bullock moves, or opens a hatch or dodges a flying piece of space debris, there is tension.
For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction and this is on full display every time Bullock grasps for a wrench or opens a hatch that explodes open as pressure inside the capsule rushes into the void of space.
I was struck by how realistic the space scenes are.
The quiet of space. Something so capacious so devoid of a sound track. They say nobody can hear you scream in space. That’s true.
While the shuttle is blown apart by flying debris, all we hear is the pursive breaths of Bullock as she works feverishly to survive.
I found the truism of the science to be fascinating. Thrust one way and never stop until you thrust with an equal amount of pressure in the opposite direction. The void of space is without gravity, and like a hockey puck on an ice pond that never slows, items continue forever unless forced to change their vector.
The back drop of space. Beautiful and full of stars and sunrises every 90 minutes. The Earth appears so peaceful it is wondrous. But the vacuum is also foreboding and unpredictable.
Bullock is constantly surrounded by darkness and a celestial beauty that she can almost touch. She floats above an Earth that is familiar but at the same time so foreign, nothing quite recognizable.
While hyperventilating and inhaling CO2, spiraling around the globe at thousands of miles an hour, Bullock undergoes a life transformation.
She begins as a woman lost in her own despair. She has lost a child. “It’s so stupid,” she will say.
She is a prisoner of her work, she is without a higher purpose, unable to even pray.
By the end of her journey, she has come to grips with her loss while coming to believe in a higher power.
At the end of the movie, she crashes back to Earth.
Gravity pulling her into the soft mud of the Island she has crashed on.
She grips the sand and lets it ooze through her glove less fingers.
The sun and sky are luminescent above her.
She struggles to stand, the full weight of the world upon her shoulders.
Above her, in a pristine blue sky, fiery streaks of metal continue to burn in the Earth’s atmosphere.
She is alive, reborn.
Gravity is a story of survival, over coming the impossible, of achieving self-realization.
Sandy Bullock is that character.
She has my academy award nod.