Editor’s note: This is part of a 37-part series dissecting the 86th Academy Awards, brought to you by the Large Association of Movie Blogs and its assorted members. Nearly every day leading up to the Oscars, at least one new post written by a different LAMB will be published, each covering a different category of the Oscars. Also, every Best Picture and Best Director nominee gets its own post. To read the other posts regarding this event, please click here. Thank you, and enjoy!
BEST PICTURE: GRAVITY
BY LUCIEN OF BUZZHUB
I first saw Gravity when it opened in Ireland in November. I rewatched it two weeks later, and a third time as part of a Best Picture marathon in January, and I can honestly say that I have not gone one day since I first saw it without thinking about it. Many may have said upon the 2009 release of James Cameron’s Avatar that the best thing about it was the immersive quality of the visual world Cameron created, that by watching it one was able to return to Pandora time and time again. As someone who almost walked out of Avatar with boredom and laughed for days about the hammy acting, ridiculous story and “Unobtanium”, I disagreed STRONGLY. Inception, which was released 6 months after Avatar, did achieve this- as the world watched Chris Nolan construct an extraordinarily vivid world on screen. Three and a half years later, Alfonso Cuaron came close to achieving what Nolan did in 2010. However, Cuaron didn’t need any folding streets, zero-gravity hallways or collapsing cities. All he needed was an empty void, two brilliant actors and a visual style to make James Cameron weep.
In case you haven’t seen Gravity (in which case, WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?), it stars Academy Award winner Sandra Bullock and Academy Award winner George Clooney as two astronauts on a mission at the International Space Station, who are going about their daily business when a rubble strike hits and both of their lives are thrown into a heart-pounding state of uncertainty. Bullock goes spinning into the never, while Clooney gets a better grasp on things and tries to solve their problem. Over the next 90 minutes, Bullock’s character in particular is put through the tests of the human experience, being forced to use intelligence, bravery and compassion to overcome the humungous obstacles that stand before her.
Gravity is only 92 minutes long, and could quite easily be set in real time, with Cuaron’s trademark long takes stitched together in such a way as so we feel like we never leave Bullock’s side. Her character, be it her face or a distant image of her spacesuit, is on screen for almost the entire film, and it doesn’t even take the magnificent ‘Inside The Helmet’ shot to make us BE HER.
The technical marvels of the visual effects, the cinematography and the sound design aside, almost everything about Gravity is perfect, from the performances (Bullock a consistently stable and relatable presence whilst jumping through figurative hoops and Clooney on top form as his usual charming, down-to-Earth self) to Stephen Price’s score (a shoe-in for an Oscar). The one area in which it slightly falters is the script. A monologue in which Bullock refers to a “red shoe” left under the bed by her daughter is like something from Bullock’s previous Oscar-nominated film, the emotionally manipulative and hammy The Blind Side, and made me sigh with frustration. I couldn’t sigh for long, however, because I’M IN SPACE AND THERE IS RUBBLE HURTLING TOWARDS ME!
12 Years A Slave may be an excellent film, but Gravity is more than a film. It’s one of those rare cinematic ventures that becomes an EXPERIENCE. Not some over-the-top, cheesy ‘rollercoaster ride’, mind you. But an EXPERIENCE all the same.
Tags: LAMB Devours The Oscars