There is just something about night-time that is inherently peaceful. Whenever I have walked around at night, though it may scare a lot of people, including myself at times, I have just found myself at complete peace. It’s like a whole different world. Especially now I’ve moved to London, when the daytime is usually so hectic, it’s actually almost preferable at nighttime. I think because of this, I am just naturally drawn to movies as well that utilise the atmosphere of nighttime. The darkness, the pools of light, the long shadows of streetlights, the lack of noise and, unfortunately…the gritty going-ons that also take place at nighttime. Nightcrawler for me was the perfect mix of this, so as to show a movie that encapsulates wonderfully a night in LA, yet at the same time, expose the gritty truth behind mainstream news media and the lives of ‘nightcrawlers’
Firstly, I apologise if my writing is a little sketchy for this entry. I’m three months out of practice so it may take a while for me to get back into the swing of writing like a coherent human.
So, after months of not posting and stressing about uni and generally not getting off my lazy ass to find things to write about, I’ve finally been to the cinema to see none other than Cuaron’s latest hit Gravity. I will start simply by saying this; its films like this that are the reason why film and cinema will not be dying any time soon. Its films like this that make young filmmakers strive to better themselves in the hope that they will create something of this magnitude one day. Its films like this that re-ignite my passion for film and inspire me to no end. Just. Go and see it, as soon as you get the chance.
I feel like I won’t be able to write anything about this film that isn’t painfully obvious to everyone anyway. Let’s just great to talking about the visuals, shall we? I need to research into the exact method that they used to create such a realistic look and feel of being in out of space, but I remember reading back that they filmed pretty much the entire thing using green screen and wire. And there is at no point in the film where you can tell that either has been used. Honestly. I’m just waiting for it to be revealed that Gravity was the first film shot entirely out of space. Absolutely everything in the film is so aesthetically beautiful that it would be offensive for a mere soul like me to describe it to you. I can say that I 100% believe that Gravity will be a film that future generations will look back on as a breakthrough in visual effects and technology. For instance, when one of the first films was shown to a majority of the public being simply a train coming towards the camera, at that point, the audience truly believed that the train would come out at them from the screen, because they had never seen anything like it before. I believe that Gravity will have a similar, long-lasting effect on its audience, for I struggle to find how anyone can currently surpass its visual brilliance. The attention to detail in this film is mind-blowing. Baring in mind that in real life, the reflections would’ve been either green-screen or a heck load of LED lights, the reflections off the helmets were something I was perhaps most impressed with. As I went to see this in 3D I feel I can say that the film lent itself fairly well to the effect. At points, the camera transitions into Bullock’s point of view, and so the 3D allowed me to differentiate between what was the helmet and what was outside, which was particularly interesting. I can imagine that without 3D, it could be fairly difficult at certain points in the film as to what it is exactly that we are supposed to be paying attention to in terms of space shuttles and orbiting debris. In my opinion, 3D is always a fairly weird way to experience movies, but I think in this case, it just helped to really create the outer world experience of a place that hasn’t been explored in such a way in film before (will explain more on this later.)
As we have very well established in the past, I do not know much about sound in film. But I can safely say that I have never been so impressed with the exploration of sound in a movie before. Again, another case of the extent of the attention to detail and the research that must’ve taken place to make the film as realistic as possible. It’s easy to forget with films like Star Wars that there really isn’t sound in space and so it’s hard to imagine a film that in this generation of film making, excluding the sound-track, has very little diegetic sound being at all enjoyable. But I really feel that Gravity 100% hit the nail on the head. In fact, the lack of sounds adds to the films intensity, as you are perhaps almost as surprised as the characters when faced with an onslaught of orbiting space junk. It’s rather unsettling and conflicting as you watch explosions taking place and huge amounts of metal being shredded up, yet hear next to nothing. It was a very interesting and peculiar effect and added to the imminent sense of peril and intensity of Bullock’s situation. The soundtrack is beautiful, to say the least, and accompanies the on screen events so well that at times I was almost moved to tears. What am I like.
I think what I enjoyed most about Gravity is just how real it is. It’s not that we haven’t had films in space before; filmmakers have been there, and done that. But I think that, because this isn’t a movie that is set in a time where humans have conquered space, it just felt more real for me. There was always the motivation to return to Earth that fuels the character’s actions and provides hope. It was nice for a difference to be shown the vulnerable side of the human state. The fact that the events in the film even take place due to human error is very interesting as well. To be honest, overall, the film was actually quite spiritual. It is about the test of human strength, and keeping faith in yourself, or perhaps something bigger, to be able to overcome huge obstacles, and also about the acceptance of death. The theme of death was explored a lot in this film, but it didn’t make me feel at all uncomfortable. Despite the fact that the events of the film were generally pretty stressful and tense, the moral of the film is actually rather refreshing and relaxing.
Perhaps the only downside I could say about Gravity is that, similar to Avatar, whilst the visuals stand to be perhaps the most amazing I’ve ever seen, the film falls just a little bit flat at the narrative. I’ve come to the conclusion that this is because the narrative of the film has a relatively small time frame in which the events take place there’s an extremely small cast for a film so huge. There is only really one point to the narrative; to survive. It’s a film that’s much more concentrated on one line of events as opposed to relying on complex narrative strands to entertain the audience, which, although I did actually enjoy, I can see how this might bother some people who are used to more commercial strategies of story-telling.
Needless to say, Sandra Bullock and George Clooney’s performances were incredible. Really. I will be extremely surprised if we don’t see Bullock with at least a nomination for her role here. The film in general will absolutely 100% be bringing home the bacon this year at the Oscars and I can’t wait. Gravity is well and truly a break through in film making, and urge those of you who haven’t already to stop what you’re doing immediately and go and see it. I say this purely because, if you don’t go and see this in the cinema and don’t have some sort of home cinema, then the effect of the film’s visuals will be completely lost on you. Although having said that, I sometimes forget that it’s only me and my family that have an extremely ancient TVs and none of these, what you call, ‘flat screens’, psshht. So yes. Go and see it. If perhaps the story falls flat just a tad, you won’t regret it for the effect of the visuals. They truly are nothing like you’ve ever seen before.