Bullock shows acting chops October 12, 2013 • Patrick White
“Gravity” is a refreshing film with a 90- minute runtime and features a total of seven actors, but only one will be remembered years later: Sandra Bullock. Bullock proves herself as a dramatic actress in director Alfonso Cuaron’s seventh film.
“Gravity” tells the story of a medical engineer and an astronaut working together to survive after an accident leaves them adrift in space. Bullock plays the medical engineer and the film is primarily focused on her after George Clooney’s character disappears into the black abyss that is space. Clooney’s role could have been played by anyone, but still in his short screen time Clooney manages to bring his perfect charm to early scenes in the film.
These first scenes are especially interesting, because they’re uncomfortable as the audience looks on as the astronauts float in space. The person who was most uncomfortable by this film, though, was Bullock, who expressed her feelings of depression when constantly being alone on set.
I’m sure those reading can point to other great dramatic performances from Bullock in films such as “The Blind Side” or “Crash,” but I have had trouble believing her acting style for years and simply only appreciated her comedic timing. “Gravity” has made me a Bullock believer as she transitions from nervous to manic, depressed and finally to one who refuses to give up in spite of all the conflict she faces, both internal and external.
My one issue with Bullock’s character, not her acting, was that her backstory seemed forced. I could have known absolutely nothing about this woman and would have been bracing my arm rest just as much when space debris flies through the air and grinding my teeth as she struggles to constantly survive. These extra subplots are set up in simple dialogue and gladlyCuaron never utilizes flashbacks to give the audience a better view into Bullock’s character’s past. This dialogue I’m sure will be analyzed to death, because it is just a piece of a larger puzzle that might not be about space travel and suspense at all, but something deeper.
These deeper meanings can also be sensed and easily overanalyzed. For instance everyone I saw this film with noticed that there was an obvious visual image with Bullock that was reminiscent of a fetus in utero. Later we learn that Bullock is not a religious person, because she “was never to taught how to pray.” Finally, the film ends with Bullock crawling her way back on to Earth. These images and lines might be interpreted as something related to religion, but I leave that up to the audience to decide.
My appreciation for this film didn’t come in the form of blatant symbolism, but rather the amazing special effects used in “Gravity.” I never doubted I was watching a film made entirely with computers, but that didn’t bother me all that much. I was still completely enthralled by the action and suspense created by Cuaron as director. The film is done with few shots and barely changes camera angles throughout.
“Gravity” might be too intense of an experience for some viewers, especially considering many of the shots are tight. This tightness in each shot smashes Bullock into tiny spaces and could take the audience with it into a world of claustrophobia.