Gravity has all the individual parts of a film rated high, near a 10, but once the parts are assembled, the whole is not equal to the parts. Even though the film is shot in space, and is set to depict a realistic portrayal of how events like these could take place, the film is really just about Ryan, a single human’s struggle to survive, and then with this revelation the epic space setting becomes incidental. It might as well have been set in the forest
Problem: Ryan is not an interesting character. She seems ill prepared for such a dangerous space mission, and when she talks about her daughter, in a moment that I assume is used to attempt to ground the film in reality by showing us the why, we don’t care about her daughter. The current situation at hand is much more interesting. Including this talk about life back home was a mistake that took me out of the moment. I don’t care about Earth here; I care about this amazing crisis taking place just above Earth. A space movie should emphasize themes bigger than the individual. The mission should be more important than the life of the astronaut. Simply making it back to Earth alive is not an exciting enough conclusion.
Although maybe the best of her career, Bullock still delivers a subpar portrayal of a character that is herself subpar. I loved Cuarón’s Children of Men and I feel here Cuarón’s work is great. From a technical perspective, Cuarón’s filmmaking is incredible, the cinematography stunning, the portrayal of space amazing, so what went wrong? Besides a storyline that fails to transcend human matters, a factor that Cuarón may have been able to gloss over under different circumstances, when a film centers on a single actor, and that actor is Sandra Bullock, to quote Yeats, “Things fall apart; the center cannot hold.”