The following is a featured post written by Suh (from onelastopinion.blogspot.com).
“A brilliantly written review that is not only intriguing but also thought-provoking on multiple levels.” – Arthur
Okay, I’m gonna come clean and say that I have never properly written a movie review. In fact, if there are rules on how one should go about in writing one, I am completely unaware of them. My extent of knowledge on movie critiques and reviews starts at Roger Ebert and ends shortly afterwards, with some information being received here and there from random Internet commenters (maybe trolls, I don’t know). I found Roger Ebert coincidentally through a friend as well, so that’s saying a lot about where I am in terms of credibility as a source for movie reviews.
However, I can attest that I feel strong emotions towards particular movies, and when I do feel that there is substance in a film, I am compelled to write about what’s there. Spontaneously, my family and I decided to watch Alfonso Cuaron’s ‘Gravity’ (2013) today, and it was one of those films that motivated me so much so as to force me to reflect on it through this blog. This blog that I haven’t touched for many weeks.’
Gravity’ in essence is a survival story, much like ‘127 Hours’ or other films based on catastrophes occurring in nature. Nonetheless, what I got from it was much more than simply the human tendencies of tenacity or an appreciation of life once a crisis is resolved. These were definitely a few of the central themes being explored throughout the 90 minute adventure protagonist Sandra Bullock experienced whilst floating in space, trying to get back to Earth. But the film was rich with so many other allusions and details that I feel should also be mentioned.
For instance, the scene in which Sandra Bullock first took off her astronaut suit and curled up into a fetal position, along with one of the final scenes as she struggles to stand up due to the power of gravity, are what I believe to be contributions of portraying the film as an extended metaphor for a reminder of our beginnings or an emphasis of our most natural and basic forms. A baby is not only representative of innocence, but also the raw, primary stage of life during which we are completely untouched or influenced by what is found beyond our bodies. We struggle to take our first steps of walking or running, which is an instance further alluded to during the ending scene. What I thought was that through such sequences, the director was trying to portray how in the context of a catastrophe, and hopelessness, the human psyche and self are stripped of external influences and a sort of eerie peacefulness may be formed.
Another extended metaphor I feel the film was trying to communicate is that humans, in the grand scheme of space and time, are ultimately insignificant. The cinematography of the film is extremely supportive of this idea, as long shots, with CGI, show a stretched out view of the Earth as seen from outer space. It’s beautiful and magnificent, but most importantly set with an even bigger, grandiose black ‘space’ as its backdrop, depicting physically that the universe is comprised of matter much greater and older than human existence on Earth. Through this, humans are portrayed to be, really, close to nothing. It’s kind of like a wake up call that reminds us viewers of how little power we have when faced in a crisis that involves the power of nature.
Finally, another point I thought was important in the movie was with the relationship between humans and faith, especially faith in religion. In two different scenes, Sandra Bullock notices symbols of Christianity and Buddhism, respectively. In the Russian ship, there is a picture of Jesus Christ stuck to the control panel, while in the Chinese ship, a statuette of Buddha is found. The recurring motif of deities in this film may be alluding to how in times of need, humans become desperate in their search for something to believe and invest their trust in. Bullock herself has a line saying she has never learnt how to pray, but in that particular moment of the movie, wishes to know how to do so. I find it powerful that the director makes a reference of human dependence on ‘higher’ figures, because it once again reinforces the idea of our insignificance, as well as bring up the point that when all seems lost, a reliance of faith of a religion or belief can be what ultimately prevents us from giving up.
These are definitely some of the heavy, thought-provoking outcomes I discovered throughout and after watching ‘Gravity.’ I was initially reluctant to sit down and concentrate on the film, because I was under the mistaken impression that it would primarily focus on the aspect of outer space travel, and therefore be mainly categorized as a sci-fi epic. Nonetheless, I think I enjoyed the movie the most out of all of my family members, and I can solemnly declare that the movie delves into subject matter much more deeper than that of spacecrafts and zero gravity. I fervently recommend that people watch this brilliant piece, because it’s captivating all throughout, not only for its dazzling cinematography and musical score, but also for its engaging incorporation of myriad themes. I can see it becoming a favorite for many in the near future.
If you want to read more from Suh, go to: http://onelastopinion.blogspot.com/