Film Comment’s Essential Cinema: “Gravity”

The winner of Best Director at the 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards last night, Alfonso Cuarón's Gravity is also among the 15 selections for Film Comment's Essential Cinema series. Co-written by his son Jonás, Cuarón's film premiered at the Venice International Film Festival before screening at the Telluride Film Festival and being released in IMAX 3D to much financial and critical success across the country.

Sandra Bullock and George Clooney star in the film as astronauts who encounter several malfunctions and misfortunes while in space, with Bullock's character becoming helplessly stranded in the process. The fim has been praised for its visual effects and lead performance from Bullock, who has received nominations from the Golden Globes, SAG awards and BAFTA for her turn here.

Writing for Film Comment, Scott Foundas extolled the film's bold employment of sound.

No, this isn’t The Artist in space, although Gravity shares its DNA with an even earlier strain of silent cinema than the one referenced by that Oscar-garlanded bauble. There are voices here (belonging to two big movie stars, Sandra Bullock and George Clooney), heard in plosive bursts over radio headsets, and there are sound effects and music—bold adagio strings, in fact, from the journeyman film composer Steven Price—all of it designed to take full advantage of Atmos, the latest iteration of the Dolby sound system. But even then, the movie’s fundamental disposition remains subjective: you hear—or feel, in great, thunderous eruptions—things as Bullock’s novice astronaut does, inside her spacesuit, cast adrift by a sudden storm of debris, floating through the universe. You are there.

Gravity is currently playing in theaters and appears to be a strong contender for multiple Academy Award nominations when they are announced this Thursday morning.

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