Friday, October 18, 2013

Gravity by Alfonso Cuarón & writing on the movie by Jones & Lee

Gravity by Alfonso Cuarón has been a much talked about and written on movie since it's release and after seeing it a few days ago, it seems all the attention for good reason. It's a remarkable film and two pieces I've since read about it's director and the movie struck me as excellent.

For the Sept 30th issue of New York Magazine, Dan P. Lee wrote "The Camera's Cusp: Alfonso Cuarón Takes Filmmaking to a New Extreme With Gravity" and it's a fascinating 6,000 word feature. Another solid piece of writing, and more on the movie itself, was the fairly short Esquire website post "Gravity Isn't Quite Accurate, and That's Okay" by Chris Jones.

In terms of my own views on the movie, the visuals were stunning in 3D (and perhaps more so in IMAX), but the big thing about the movie for me was the tension and drama. In fact, there was a portion of it where I found the emotional drama perhaps too much with the choice Cuarón made in having Sandra Bullock's character in Dr. Ryan Stone having experienced a particularly horrific moment in her past. Watching things unfold on screen as Stone in pretty much ceaseless peril and combining those with her past, it felt both that the tragic backstory might be excessive and given that backstory, logical that Stone might just say "no más" (guess I couldn't get enough of the accent in Cuarón's name) and stop trying to figure out a way to survive. Related to this, I was watching and thinking there no way NASA would have sent to space anyone in Stone's emotional state.

From that point of skepticism I had, though, I thought her past then well dealt with by Cuarón in the film, and as Jones wrote about, whether something would have actually occurred the way it was portrayed (whether a technical detail about space or selecting of science specialists for the mission) doesn't have to detract from the movie.

The other thing I loved about the piece by Jones was his mention of the attempt to make a movie out of his book Too Far From Home, the subject of the first real blog post I wrote five years ago. Not that my blog writing has been like performing life-saving surgeries, but this book kind of got me started with it.