One giant leap for movie kind! Gravity Movie Review

TOI-gravityIsaac Newton might have thought he’d stumbled upon a bit of a winner in terms of world changing scientific concepts when an apple fell on his noggin. But unbeknownst to him, he’d actually, and far more significantly, come up with the title for one of the best movies of the year, and maybe even the decade.

Gravity scores on every level – acting, writing, directing, cinematography, sound design, musical score, and special effects all get 10 out of 10, and thus it receives the highly coveted 5 matzo ball Kosher Kritic rating.

A tour de force for star Sandra Bullock, who spends a great deal of the movie talking to herself with complete believability. Bullock plays the emotionally detached rookie astronaut, Dr. Ryan Stone, trying to hold down her lunch in the opening scene as she professionally labors to install her hardware invention into the Hubbell space telescope – which is the job she came to space to do.

At the same time co-star George Clooney, playing veteran astronaut Lieutenant Matt Kowalski is zipping around in his jet propelled space suit, cutting up with mission control (voiced by Ed Harris, who played pretty much the same role in Apollo 13). In acting terms, Clooney certainly has an easier time than Bullock, as his character is effortlessly handsome and charming. Not exactly a stretch for Mr. Clooney, and as you’d expect, he does his job admirably.

I want to take a moment to talk about that opening scene as it highlights so many of this movie’s many strengths. Running at about 15 minutes in length, you get a sense of the strange fluidity of space as there’s not one cut in it, and it’s all one long continuous take.

It’s a testament to the special effects that I only realized after I walked out of the movie house that the entire scene (and most of the movie) must have been computer generated, and the actors would have been performing against green screens, just to have their faces seamlessly cut and pasted into position in their space suits.

At no point does it even enter your mind you’re watching something that’s almost entirely digital.

There’s not an ounce of fat on the script, or for that matter, the nearly 50 year old Mrs. Bullock. Is there a competition going on between her and Tom Cruise for who can be the healthiest 50 year old in Hollywood? After a few minutes where we meet the characters and get adjusted to the hyper realistic space setting, events turn on a dime, and we’re plunged into a roller-coaster ride that takes you through the remaining 90 minutes of the movie’s run time.

A cloud of space debris is hurtling towards our heroes, and it’s a race against time for them to avoid it and somehow find a way back home.

It’s through this journey that we really get into the emotional meat of the story, which is found in Bullock’s character, Dr. Stone. Early on we find out about a personal tragedy of hers, that has come to define her. She is not a woman with much going on in her life, or much reason to make it back home. You get the distinct impression that she’s just been going through the motions of living, rather than choosing life.

And that’s really the core of this movie – it’s about someone actively choosing life, and the struggle to reach the goal of continuing to live.

And it’s certainly not a slam dunk that they’ll make it. The odds are heavily stacked against them throughout, and you never get a feeling that anyone is safe.

Writer/director Alfonso Cuaron has spent the better part of five years bringing this masterpiece to fruition, and the years of research all show clearly on the screen. From life in a weightless environment, to the design of the space craft, everything feels entirely authentic.

There is one particularly breath taking sequence when we see what a fire in a zero G environment of an abandoned space station would look like. And here’s what I leant: whilst it may look beautiful I wouldn’t hang around too long to take any snaps for one’s facebook page.

But is it kosher?

Is it kosher???? It’s SUPER kosher extra strength badatz kosher. OK – it does have Sandra Bullock in an undershirt and underwear, but if you’re bothered about that you shouldn’t be watching movies anyway,

Why do I think it’s so kosher?

Because of the central theme of a person choosing life. And whilst in this case, it’s someone literally choosing life – it has all the same hallmarks as when any of us choose to live life.

What do I mean by that? That sometimes one makes a decision in life to grasp a dream and go for it, and the fight that one has to go through to accomplish their dream.

And the dream doesn’t have to be anything special. It could be to strive to not speak badly about others. It could be to treadmill every day. It could be to change jobs or build a business.

It could be to improve yourself in any way at all.

This is what I feel is the fundamental truth of life, and what G-d wants out of us. To become more than what we were, and the impossible struggle involved there within.

This is the core of Gravity, and what could be more kosher than that?

Starring: Sandra Bullock and George Clooney
Directed by: Alfonso Cuarón
Rated: PG-13
Run Time: 91 minutes
Release Date: 4, October 2013 (USA) 7, November (Israel)
Kosher Kritic Rating: 5 Matzo Balls (out of 5)

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About the Author
Tzvi Lebetkin: Writer, Adventurer, Private Consulting Detective & Lover. Kosher Kritic & Rabbi from another planet. Available for screenplays, comic books, weddings, divorces and bar mitzvahs.