Let’s get something out of the way: Gravity is in many ways a deeply flawed film. This is a blockbuster with enough factual inconsistencies to fill a Roland Emmerich manuscript, and dialogue that would make George Lucas blush. Exposition is laid on so thick at times that you wonder if Sandra Bullock’s contract specified a certain minimum number of lines (a phenomenon that I suggest henceforth be known as ‘Legolas Syndrome’).
What’s amazing about Alfonso Cuarón’s film is that it is so visually impressive, so taut and beautiful that I walked away not caring about any of those weaknesses. Gravity is a triumph of style over substance. Emmanuel Lubezki’s cinematography perfectly meshes the eerie void of space with some masterful and wildly kinetic set pieces. The imagery, like the script itself, is hardly subtle, but it works- a scene where Bullock pulls a desperate first breath and curls up as if undergoing a reverse birth requires minimal thought to appreciate, but the symbolism is arresting enough that you won’t mind. The performances from Bullock and George Clooney are admirable given what they’re working with, and even the 3D is effectual rather than obtrusive.
I won’t go into the plot here, except to say that it’s fairly insubstantial and beside the point anyway: Gravity doesn’t want you to think; it wants you to immerse yourself in its action and its stunning imagery. Do yourself a favour and acquiesce.