1. Gravity reminds us why we go to the movies.
Some movies you can easily watch at home on your iPod, as you stream whatever movies Neftlix has decided to make available for you. Don’t wait until video, because you’re going to muss out. Gravity demands to be seen in the theatre — on the biggest screen you can possibly find. Grab your 3D goggles and sit as close to the screen as comfort allows. This is a once-in-a-lifetime visual feast, the perfect fusion of art and technology in which the punishingly brilliant cinematography becomes a force of it’s own. The packed theatre I saw Gravity with barely moved, entranced by the power of cinema to stun us, thrill us and transcend our imaginations. Whatever you think you’re expecting from Gravity, the result is even better.
2. This is the future of film.
Cuaron worked closely with NASA to develop the technology and effects for the movie, and together they created the most realistic looking movie ever made about space. Everything you are seeing on film is impossible, with every shot making you wonder how Cuaron could have possibly pulled it off. However, Cuaron makes the unimaginable looking simple, like in a breathtaking 15-minute tracking shot so seamless you might not realize there’s no cuts. The added 3D layer to Cuaron’s visual imagery isn’t a gimmick but an absolute necessity, taking cinema farther than anyone dreamed it could go. Most filmmakers struggle with two dimensions, but Cuaron has already conquered a third. It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen before.
3. Alfonso Cuaron is finally getting his due.
There’s a reason that Gravity is routinely being called a “masterpiece,” “game-changing” and “the movie of the year.” Its director is a modern master whose genius has too long been overlooked. Alfonso’s first masterpiece was 2001’s Y Tu Mama Tambien, an exploration of the changing social, political and sexual landscape of Mexico, which he followed up with Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the movie that made the Harry Potter series its own cinematic force. (It was also the lowest grossing Potter film.) Cuaron’s achievement was not only a template for the rest of the series but also gave the director the budget for 2006’s Children of Men, one of the best films of the decade and the most criminally overlooked. With the deafening buzz around Gravity, it’s clear we won’t miss the boat this time around.
4. Gravity proves Sandra Bullock can act.
Sure, Sandra Bullock won an Oscar, but it’s one of the most widely criticized decisions in the history of the Academy. However, this movie proves Bullock’s detractors wrong, in a boldly physical performance reminiscent of Naomi Watts in last year’s The Impossible. After Angelina Jolie and Natalie Portman dropped out, Cuaron was wise to cast Bullock in the role, as there’s something inherently nerve-wracking watching America’s sweetheart narrowly escape death. Sandra Bullock brings a tenderness and emotional depth that perfectly juxtaposes the brittle coldness of Cuaron’s galactic landscape. Her Dr. Ryan Stone is fragile and broken, dealing with the recent death of her daughter, and her journey isn’t just one of survival. In a place where life cannot survive, she’s battling for her soul.
5. It might be the most beautiful movie ever filmed.
Cuaron’s film has some tough competition in Days of Heaven, but what separates Cuaron from Terrence Malick is the simple elegance of his visuals. Because Gravity clocks in at a slim 90 minutes, its pulse-pounding pace can’t accommodate Malick’s flights of fancy, and in Gravity, the visual becomes the narrative itself. Although the dialogue is important, Cuaron’s thriller plays as a space ballet of poetic terror, using its photo-realistic computer images of Earth’s surface to make us feel intimately connected to humanity even as we’re alone. The movie’s frail humanism is as boundless as its images of space, in which the infinite silence feels as close to God as any of us will ever see.
6. Gravity is the moviegoing experience of the year — and maybe the decade.
Along with The Social Network, Before Midnight and A Separation, Gravity will be hailed as one of the decade’s definitive masterworks, but the movie has something the others don’t. Everything about Gravity feels like an absolute miracle, the kind of movie you can’t wait to experience as many times as humanly possible. It took Cuaron six years to get this movie made, meticulously working out even the tiniest details in post-production, and it’s the kind of movie that comes along once in a generation. Currently, it has some of the best reviews ever recorded on Metacritic, and it’s hard to remember the last time a movie made you feel so tense — yet so very alive. In a time where we’re constantly worried about the death of cinema, Gravity makes the future look brighter than ever.