Some movies need to watched on a big screen. Gravity is one of them.
Part of the experience is sitting in a giant darkened room with other people, letting their chatter wash over you until the opening credits begin. The sound choices in Gravity are pretty incredible–the title of the film comes up in a haze of anxiety-inducing noise before a sudden, brutal, clear cut to utter silence. The opening shot is breathtakingly beautiful. This opening move is one of the filn’s most masterful moments, since it dwells on themes of loneliness, solitude, and anxiety. In that moment, Gravity performs one of film’s most powerful effects by forcing a group of people to be silent and focus, together, on one supremely beautiful object: planet Earth from a distance. A movie about the anxiety of being silent and alone fittingly forces its audiences to just be quiet and look, if only for a few moments—a rare thing in a society obsessed with being completely plugged into the background noise of our new media.
Gravity‘s ninety minutes feel short, and the movie is generally tightly constructed, with clear movements through a terrifyingly empty space-scape. In the figure of Sandra Bullock’s Dr. Ryan Stone (a fitting last name for her character, her normal stoicism making her panic that much more extreme), the film is a meditation on the nature of loneliness, casting its characters into the most extreme solitude possible. Gravity is not a feel-good movie by any means, but it is a beautiful piece of work.