October 14, 2013


Gravity is a film from a filmmaker that is in love with a technique. Alfonso Cuaron etched his name in filmmaking glory with Children of Men. His single-shot inventiveness was able to capture suspense in such a genius way that it seems as though he became mesmerized with his visionary abilities. Unfortunately, the intent of film is not sufficiently to revere cinematographic technique. It is not to make a film that worships the mechanism of its creation. Yet that is what Gravity does.


Can we be more specific then with what film’s goals ought to be? Consistent with the goal of all art, which is the creation of representations of the unseen order – transcendence – that elevates the consciousness of man toward greater appreciations of the reality he is in, which assists in his ability to be creative in his construction of better ideas about that reality, and therefore better renditions of truth, leading him out of the Platonic cave toward the Good. All mechanics of generating film, and the unique ability to create representation in the medium, must adhere to this dogma of art. Logical then, as patently obvious with the universal consistency of mythical narrative in human culture, the greatest artwork and therefore the greatest filmmaking will place man within the context of the transcendence he is attempting to know in his conscious experience. This integration is why the idea of God, communicated through the myth of the Hebrews, then through the myth of the Christian and the myth of the Muslim, has been so potent a mold for the human mind in history. It is a sublime idea in other words.


This is why Gravity is a catastrophic failure. The narrative, in which man attempts to find himself in the transcendent, is subservient to the technique. Yes, there is a story in Gravity, but the creation of the drama in the story, as a representation of the chaotic dynamics of transcendence, is so infantile it would be insulting had we not recognized that Mr. Cuaron is worshipping his single-shot golden calf. And it is comical to even reveal: space debris from Russian’s destroying their space satellites. As if the space explorers were oblivious to the scheduled demolition of space satellites, which would have had them postpone their vacuum rendezvous? As if the Russians actually give a damn about dismantling space junk? In reality the amount of trash in orbit is so ubiquitous it’s quite ridiculous a government would waste the resources to launch ballistics into space, never mind risk the failed launch which may crash land in another country starting a war. I won’t bother explicating further how stupid and intellectually insulting this excuse for drama is.


I’ll shift my attention to the narrative within the space crap. And that is effectively humans who have chosen space because they have nothing to value on Earth. Mr. George Clooney chooses to act as a character that exudes apathy in the face of catastrophe and in the face of the death of his compatriots. Truly, the space astronaut is a self-centered nihilist who concerns himself more with sharing stories about himself and beating a frivolous record than anything substantially human. To think that astronaut was an occupation that was supposed to attract the best and brightest.


Ms. Sandra Bullock plays a character that also has nothing in her life. She is another causality of feminism. Married to her job sends her into space, and has her center herself on whether or not her life has any meaning. But again, this centering is so cavalierly manufactured by Cuaron, it only finds its emphasis in the last quarter of the film, when the director has satisfied his single-shot quota for himself.


This is a major miss from a director playing more a technician than an artist.


Grade: D



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