Thursday, November 14, 2013

Random Film Review: Gravity

Dir: Alfonso Cuarón | 2013 | 90mins | USA & UK

My boon companion and I had arranged to see Gravity in Greenwich on Sunday. When we got there it was fully booked (we saw Captain Phillips instead). So we arranged to see it last night in the West End. We met early, somehow lost our bearings around New Oxford Street, entered a Twilight Zone, and proceeded to walk around in circles several times. When we finally found the cinema, it was fully booked (Orange Wednesdays, presumably). We headed to Marble Arch for a later showing. Due to some fault, there was no heating in the cinema and it cost over £30 for two tickets. By now, we hated the film. All the great reviews and packed cinemas had magnified it into the best film ever, a role the film would never live up to. Still, in the end, it wasn't half bad. Nearly beautiful, nearly riveting (I'll give it four stars). At least it was relatively short.

We arrived in time to see the trailers, including one for 12 Years a Slave, Steve McQueen's latest film. It used to be that people in advertising would move into film directing (Ridley Scott et al); now it's experimental artists making mainstream movies. We had Sam Taylor-Wood's recent Nowhere Boy, about the early life of John Lennon, and McQueen's Hunger (2008), Shame (2011) and now 12 Years a Slave, which has received glowing five star reviews globally.

I knew someone who knew Steve McQueen whilst at Goldsmiths in the early 1990s; she said what she remembered about him most was that he worked really hard all the time. This reminds me of Malcolm Gladwell's posit that genius and success = 10,000 hours and Grayson Perry debunking the common notion of lazy art students in his recent Reith Lectures. Those who actually want to be artists work hard at it.

An ex-girlfriend's mother had been keen to see a photography exhibition of her favourite actor, Steve McQueen, some years ago in an art gallery. I can only imagine her surprise when, instead of shots of the iconic actor, she was greeted with one of artist/director Steve McQueen's experimental short films, Bear (1993), consisting of two naked black men wrestling. I don't think she went away altogether disappointed.


Dan O. said...

The direction keeps this movie sharp, tense, and inspired. However, the script sort of tears it down by being nothing more than conventional material. Nice review.

Barnaby said...

Nicely put. Maybe they should have put less effort into the CGI and more into the underwhelming script. No matter how you dress it up, space is a pretty boring place.