Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

October 2, 2013

Space odyssey

Filed under: Their Films — Rajeev @ 8:40 pm

October 02, 2013

Cast: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney

Director: Alfonso Cuaron

What links many of the greatest films ever made is their ability to transport the viewer to a different time and place, and, in the case of some films, to an entirely new universe. Not since James Cameron’s Avatar in 2009 have I enjoyed an experience as immersive as Gravity. Achieved by seamlessly merging live action with the most advanced visual effects technology especially developed for this film, Gravity takes us to outer space in a way that no movie has before.

“You have to admit one thing; you can’t beat the view,” George Clooney’s seasoned spaceman Matt Kowalsky announces early on in the film, bobbing and floating against a breathtaking expanse, as his rookie partner, Sandra Bullock’s Ryan Stone, attends to a mechanical problem on the Hubble Space Telescope. When oncoming debris from a Russian satellite explosion destroys their shuttle, the two astronauts become stranded in space.

Using his camera masterfully, Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron takes us to the heart of the action as if we’re experiencing it ourselves. When Bullock’s harness snaps and she begins spinning uncontrollably, expect to feel overcome by nausea. When she’s struggling to hold on to a corner or a ledge of the shuttle even as she’s floating away from it, more than likely you’ll be digging your nails into the armrest, panicking for her safety.

As anyone who’s watched his terrific 2006 film Children of Men will tell you, Cuaron isn’t afraid of shooting long fluid takes. The film’s 13-minute opening scene (during which we’re even briefly introduced to an Indian astronaut, Sharif, humming “Mera joota hai Japani”) is nothing short of a marvel, as is at least one other soundless scene that nicely demonstrates Bullock’s isolation. Stunning sequences in which our protagonists navigate space in zero gravity are further enhanced by the filmmaker’s intelligent use of 3D.

If anything feels clunky here, it’s Bullock’s sentimental back-story involving a dead child, that’s likely revealed in order to wring every possible drop of sympathy for the character. Alas it wasn’t required! Her effort to survive this hostile terrain is enough by itself to generate genuine drama. Bullock, in fact, is in excellent form, meeting the film’s intense physical demands and taking the character’s emotional journey in equal stride. Clooney, meanwhile, turns on the charm as the wisecracking astronaut, his confidence and calmness a nice foil to Bullock’s permanently tense demeanor.

For all its slick technical wizardry, Gravity is about hope and courage and the will to come out alive. To best enjoy it, go in with patience and an open mind. I’m going with four-and-a-half out of five.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)


  1. Hey Rajeev, its really a wonderful writing and the way you explain the things is truly awesome
    & really a great review

    Comment by Gaurav — October 2, 2013 @ 10:16 pm

  2. thinking of watching it in imax…loved his movie children of men(2006) and prisoner of azkaban (2004)..this move is must watch for me..thanks for the interesting review..

    Comment by vineeth — October 2, 2013 @ 11:50 pm

  3. Hey Rajeev.. its been nice to read your comments..
    I am desperately waiting to see this movie here in Delhi..
    Do you have any idea… by when will it be launching in Delhi??/
    On wait..
    Anmol Mehta

    Comment by Anmol Mehta — October 4, 2013 @ 5:58 pm

  4. Hey I have been waiting anxiously to watch GRAVITy….

    in India..??

    Comment by Arun J — October 4, 2013 @ 6:15 pm

  5. I cant stop raving about this film since i saw it. I almost never recommend films to any one, lest i take the fun away of discovering films. But this film, i believed deserved to be seen by one and all. I was a bit afraid of comparing the experience of watching avatar with it, thinking i am going overboard but clearly thats not the case…

    Comment by Aditya — October 7, 2013 @ 11:49 pm

  6. hey its not as good as life of pi rajeev..there are a fey flaws in its science…i give it 4/5..background could have been better

    Comment by rohin — October 12, 2013 @ 9:56 pm

  7. Hi Rajeev. I have watched dis movie n it is simply superb and breathtaking.
    The visual effects and music are mind blowing. The only thing that lacks is the story.
    As u said that 1 thing that we learn from dis movie is d courage, hope & Positivity.
    But the story is simple bt it has been stretched
    My rating would be 4.

    Comment by Vivek — October 13, 2013 @ 3:27 pm

  8. WIth nothing to do on a sunday evening my cousin, friend and me went for this movie… totally blown away by the 3-D …beautiful use of the 3D technology.Felt like shouting at Sandra bullock just to catch the stupid rod so she wont float away….that was the experience!!!!

    Comment by John Zacharia — October 14, 2013 @ 12:48 pm

  9. Hey Rajeev i saw dese movie and i must say d movie was awesome worth to watch and review is 100 % correct

    Comment by shradha — October 14, 2013 @ 12:51 pm

  10. Gravity is so GOOD! 10/10 from me. Love Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. Alfonso Cuaron will never fail to amaze me.

    Comment by Jay Walke — October 14, 2013 @ 1:31 pm

  11. Sharing my views about the movie –
    Its a visual masterpiece. It sits Right there – in the league of avatar and life of pi when it mind comes to visuals. Simply mind boggling. If watching in a theatre with a 3D glass, you actually feel yourself floating in the space. Story is non existent and for a Bollywood moviegoer, the 90 mins of duration is a bit too short. Movie zaps thru and ends before you fully connect with the protagonists to have an emotional connect with the movie. Clooney is extremely charismatic and bullock is very competent. The best performance though comes from the “vast and empty space” that doesn’t fail to awe you… And that’s where the directors genius comes to fore. Go for it for the unique experience it gives you in 3D

    Comment by Swapnil — October 14, 2013 @ 6:17 pm

  12. It was a visual treat.Loved it.

    Comment by gururaj — October 15, 2013 @ 10:13 am

  13. Boring boring boring ….paid rs.350/- for an ariel view of the earth..should have rather googled it….:-(

    Comment by Vidgun — October 15, 2013 @ 4:26 pm

  14. Hi Rajeev
    Its really a good movie, hope our Bollywood film maker will learn something from this

    Comment by Aman — October 16, 2013 @ 3:23 pm

  15. Hii rajeev, I will always wait very eagerly for your Now Showing on CNN-IBN
    I love your artistic and awesome credible judgement’s about movies and the way you see these awesome movies with attention to every detail
    I going to watch Gravity tonight
    Feeling thrilled and excited

    Thank’s and love you for your awesome reviews

    Comment by Jerry James — October 17, 2013 @ 10:08 am

  16. ‘Gravity’ such a wonderful experience after avatar. Bit slow at times. But climax stunningly visualise. A nice review by rajeev masand sir

    Comment by manju — October 18, 2013 @ 3:04 pm

  17. Finally got to watch the movie GRAVITY in 3D,probably best movie of the year.

    Gravity is not just a movie but a visual treat with its sheer perfection in technology and story telling.The movie is quite engaging and gripping and keeps you hooked to Space-world all the time.Hats off to the VFX specialist and director who I heard did 4 years research on putting together all the ground breaking elements in the effect.Not to forget the mention of Ganges as a beautiful object from space in the dialogue.

    George Cooney and Sandra Bullock chemistry was cracking with lots of humours elements in their dialogue.Seems Sandra Bullock is up there in tight competition to win another Oscar trophy next year.

    Comment by surendro (@mahadeva2011) — October 20, 2013 @ 11:58 pm

  18. Here is my review on Gravity. Please do check out.


    Comment by Arijit Majumder — October 28, 2013 @ 2:54 pm

  19. hey rajeev
    just 2 words for you….BIG FAN!!
    i loved every bit of this movie……watching it in imax was quite an experience
    also loved the contrast between the characters’ demeanor
    i hope sandra gets nominated for oscar…..she deserves it

    Comment by Anjali — November 5, 2013 @ 12:36 am

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