It’s hard to rant about a film that has just won the Best Director Oscar a week back, but the fact remains that Gravity left me wanting more, a whole lot more.
The story of a medical engineer, Ryan Stone, (Sandra Bullock) left fighting for her survival after a disaster on a space station is beautiful to look at, there is no doubt about that, and even though I did not watch the film in a theatre, the way it was supposed to be seen, it still proved to be a wonderful sight. The technical aspects are the best and deserve all the awards that they have received, and the same could also be said about the direction to some effect. But, the film lacks a certain direction. It’s a disaster movie at face value trying to be something deep, evolutionary, and “spiritual” at heart.
I found Gravity to work in segments. It starts with general chit chat between the astronauts working on the space station followed by disaster which leads to some thrilling scenes and then panic as Stone ends up in space free floating. The same scenario is repeated in different forms twice more before the film ends, and thus it feels repetitive at times. That Ryan Stone is still recovering from the death of her daughter is what adds the human sentimental drama to all the events. The presence of George Clooney’s astronaut Matt Kowalski is a welcome change for both Stone and for the audience, but it is a character without any depth. The film in the end is all about Sandra Bullock’s character.
Throughout the film I waited, waited for something to happen that would intrigue me or “blow my mind” away. That never happens and the film ends in a rather predictable fashion; or maybe not exactly predictable because till the very last scene I hoped that something extraordinary would happen, but it doesn’t.
So, what I did as a result of that is make up three different endings to the film in my own mind and surprisingly they all, and you will probably not agree, seem better and make the film a lot more tolerable. Imagine what if Stone drowned in the pod as it landed in the lake at the very end, wouldn’t that be gut wrenching after everything she went through in space, to end up drowning on arrival. Better yet go the unconventional way and let a crocodile snap her up as she made way to land after having survived the landing. Still, the one psychological ending that I hoped for was what if after everything had happened there was a two minute scene that showed Stone leave a room and the camera slowly focusing on the name tag by the door which would have read “Matt Kowalski, Psychologist”. No need to explain, let the audience make of it what they wanted, but what if the entire episode was some role play exercise or a form of hypnosis to help Stone come to terms with her loss. What is important to note is that during the events in space, whenever Stone has doubts about her survival or is losing hope, Kowalski comes to her rescue, including once when he has supposedly given away his life to save Stone. This would work wonders if the last scenario played on as a way of the psychologist comings to help guide Stone whenever she went off-track. But then, I’m no writer or a director, instead I’m just someone with a wild imagination.
Gravity is a visually stunning and the excellent background score adds to the beauty on the screen with performances that don’t necessarily stand out but nevertheless suit the film well. It does however seem a little uncertain of where it wants to go and that is where it left a void for me.