Three quick bullets on the film highlighting some under-discussed things I found interesting. Most of the discourse has centred on its achievements as a roller-coaster popcorn b-movie. It is all of that, but there's plenty of thought under the surface as well that rewards thinking about.

  • The long takes in Children of Men often worked to distance you from the action because the impressive technical display was distracting. However, they are immersive in Gravity perhaps because the zero G setting requires so much suspension of disbelief. When things look this unreal anyway you can get away with being more auteurish without everything looking archly staged.
  • Also helps that the film operates only partly on a literal level, constantly moving to different visual compositions layering in various symbols: the womb of technology, spaceship as coffin and as burning longboat, the birth of Venus as life crawling out of the primordial waters. Reminds me of the roving camera in Pan's Labyrinth, also a very symbolically rich film, which almost sings you into the land of dreams.
  • Only two characters, but I wonder if there is some gendering going on. Clooney the (sexually-) adventurous fate-mastering man and Bullock the family-fixated fate-bound woman, until she accepts Clooney as her spirit guide, anyway. The film avoids making her too hysterical, thankfully

Thanks are due to the recently retired Chairman of the Islington Comic Forum for his tireless attempts to get me to see the film, as I had initially dismissed it as mindless spectacle and went to see Thor 2 and Catching Fire instead.

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