Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity premiered at the Venice Film Festival this week, and it’s already getting rave reviews from critics. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find a single criticism.
As a movie set in the great expanse of space, filmed almost entirely in front of a green screen and relying on just two actors, Gravity could have easily fallen flat on its face. But according to the hoards of film critics who sat down to watch the George Clooney and Sandra Bullock epic yesterday, it is an out-and-out success…
Time magazine’s Richard Corliss kicks off proceedings, saying: “Cuarón shows things that cannot be but, miraculously, are, in the fearful, beautiful reality of the space world above our world… If the film past is dead, Gravity shows us the glory of cinema’s future. It thrills on so many levels. And because Cuarón is a movie visionary of the highest order, you truly can’t beat the view.”
The Telegraph agrees with Time’s unerring praise, giving the film five stars and calling it “a science-fiction thriller of rare and diamond-hard brilliance”. Robbie Collin goes on to single out Bullock’s performance – “Bullock is the undoubted star and is seriously good here, giving Stone an inner steeliness that only the very deepest pangs of despair can unsheathe” – before adding: “As Dr Stone’s own oxygen supply agonisingly ebbs towards zero, you realise you, too, are rationing your breath into sips.”
The Hollywood Reporter doesn’t hold back either, calling the movie: “the most realistic and beautifully choreographed film ever set in space” and “a thrillingly realized survival story spiked with interludes of breath-catching tension and startling surprise.”
Todd McCarthy then adds, in what is the closest this film gets to criticism, that Gravity “shies away from proposing anything metaphysical, philosophically suggestive or meaning-laden. For some viewers, that will be a good thing, as it avoids pretention and self-seriousness; for others, its refusal to acknowledge the eternal mysteries, to be anything more than a thrillingly made, stripped-down suspense drama, will relegate it to good-but-not-great status.” But the THR critic can’t sign off without heaping more praise on Bullock’s turn as Dr Stone: “Bullock is aces in by far the best film she’s ever been in.”
Giving the film a measley four out of five stars, The Guardian‘s Xan Brooks calls Gravity “brilliantly tense”, going on to say it “thrums with an ongoing existential dread”.
Meanwhile, Variety says: “Alfanso Cuaron’s white-knuckle space odyssey restores a sense of wonder, terror and possibility to the big screen that should inspire awe among critics and audiences worldwide,” going on to add that “Gravity is at once classical and cutting-edge in its showmanship” and that the film is tied to “the soul of classic Hollywood”.
The Village Voice has only praise for Cuaron’s creation, too. Film critic Stephanie Zacharek states in her opening paragraph “I haven’t yet fully recovered”, calling the movie: “both lyrical and terrifying, and sometimes Cuarón even merges the two, sending us into free fall along with his characters.” Zacharek also references Bullock’s brilliant performance – “this really is Bullock’s film” – before stating that: “This is what 3D was made for.”