Thoughts on ‘Gravity’

This post contains spoilers for the film Children of Men.

As someone who has cited “Children of Men” as their second favourite film, I was thrilled to see that director Alfonso Cuaron has not lost his visual style.

In particular Cuaron is known for pulling off incredibly long shots with no cuts. Children of Men had three such “long takes” including a 3 minute long shot of a woman giving birth, a 4 minute long driving sequence which required a custom built car, and a 7 1/2 minute shot of the main character trying trying to find some one in the middle of an all battle.

You can imagine my excitement when I noticed a distinct lack of cuts during the opening scene of Gravity. Part of me was expecting the whole film to be one contiguous real-time shot. The scene did end after an impressive 17 minutes, more than doubling Cuaron’s record from Children of Men. (Meanwhile Clooney’s character banters on about breaking the current space-walking record… maybe an intentional reference, maybe not.)

The film also kept up Cuaron’s unique mastery of visual symbolism. I won’t spoil any in particular, but several images in the film should feel strikingly familiar.

And of course, Cuaron will continue to hold his title as one of the biggest innovators in film. Whenever he wants to achieve a certain effect that cannot be done with the current tech in Hollywood, Cuaron invents the technology needed to meet his vision. This time instead of a custom car it was some sort of giant cube that was used to do the zero gravity effects.

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