What the film lacks in faces on the screen it makes up for in outstanding shots, CGI or not, of Earth as it spins through unbounded space. In fact, spinning is probably the key element to this movie. A single motion can set off a chain reaction that we have no control over, yet we find purpose in straightening out and moving forward. Drive to live is what makes us unbearably and remarkably human. Clooney, who plays the funny, charming, and dashingly experienced astronaut to Bullock’s fledgling character, is also her conscience, her will, and philosophically a projection of the inner voice of God that tells us not to be afraid.
Playing to the depths of our souls, the unknown, and space. Even if the movie wasn’t in IMAX, I still would’ve cringed. Among the phenomenal graphics that pushed us deep into our seats with the singular prayer that what we were witnessing was in fact a movie and not some awful time warp where we had been transported into our deepest fears. An unconventional horror film that doubles as a realistic Sci-Fi flick, Gravity, starring Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, and a clawing realization that death is always closer than we think, made this definitely worth the $17 ticket and IMAX glasses.
“Life in space is not possible.”
The premise of the movie, stated in the opening credits, is that “Life in space is not possible.” A point that turns a paradox into a running joke as we follow the astronauts through their struggle to survive a pernicious environment that seems hell bent on testing their will at every turn. The larger symbolisms here, that escape most, is that we live on a planet revolving in space. How is our lives possible and why? Questions that the movie skillfully avoids. It does, however, confront the unknown and chaos that orbits Death. In this movie fear, death, and fear of death are palpable and concrete. Not the abstract ideas we think about among the daily grind of menial existence but right against the glass; as close as a crack in a helmet, a slip in life’s crucial grip, or panic at the wrong moment that flings us off into a dark, shapeless void. Scary as hell, to the point where all you can do is grip the seat and hope that the intensity will subside, which it never does. The film makes the audience feel as if they are just as lost in space, holding their breath like each one is a grain from God. No one inhales too much, not until the end do we all dare to breathe deeply with the character.
Arthur Schopenhauer wrote about The Will as the fundamental and indestructible building block to mankind, that intellect is irrelevant in the grand scheme of our lives. This film demonstrates his theory with the interaction between the only two fully developed characters, but mainly within the conversations she has with herself. Tom Hanks had Wilson in Cast Away, Will Smith had Sam in I am Legend, but the film makes the point over and over again that she, Ryan, is the “sole survivor”. It has a final tone to it that permeates throughout her experiences. She is on her own disconnected from the living on Earth, and even the dead in space, curled into the fetal position, she has only herself and her will to keep going.