Tony Baksa – Critic-at-large
HAMBURG — Wow! Or, as they say these days, OMG! What else can one say about a movie that made me jump, gasp and choke up several times, throughout this crisp, thrilling outer space adventure?
“Gravity,” The Warner Brothers’ astronaut adventure directed by Alfonso Cuarón and starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, is the oddest epic I have ever seen.
Aside from its texturally beautiful visuals, all the more radiant in 3D, “Gravity” is, in some ways, formulaic; in this case, that is not a bad thing. It is a good formula spiced up with original details, exciting situations and an Oscar-caliber performance by Bullock. Directed to perfection by Alfonso Cuaron (of “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” “Children of Men” and “Y Tu Mamá También” fame), “Gravity” will leave you breathless.
Bullock, as brilliant medical engineer specialist Dr. Ryan Stone, is brought into the infinity of space to solve a particular problem only she apparently can tackle. This marks her first trip into space.
Her commander is the ever charming Clooney who, in this movie is, of course, ever charming. But he is so likeable and trustworthy as veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski that you are certain he will save the day. Wrong!
That is what is so wonderful about “Gravity.” Within its tried and true formula are plenty of original sidesteps to involve you sensorially, as well as emotionally.
Bullock owns the film. Clooney supports brilliantly, but it is Bullock with whom you will identify.
“Gravity” is an emotional roller coaster and we, the audience, feel every bump, every twist and turn – just like the two leads who are completely alone, tethered to each other and spiraling into the infinite blackness of outer space.
That can especially be attributed to the very smart use of 3D. This is 3D at its best. Just like “Life of Pi” and “Hugo,” “Gravity” respects the technology and delivers an artful visual feast. It isn’t just about objects’ flying in your face. It is about placing you right there in outer space, alongside Stone.
I promise that you will feel as if you are personally experiencing this scary and beautiful adventure. You will feel the sensation of floating, whirling and spinning in outer space, high above the planets.
Three major moments will make you gasp, cry and fill with wonder. Not to give anything away, let me describe a fabulous 3D moment in the film that, for me, was unforgettable. Stone breaks down, as she experiences hopelessness. Her tears fly toward you, filling the screen. One remarkable tear slowly floats forward. As it seems to hover before you – right in your face – you can see the doctor reflected in the tear. It is a stunning moment.
“Gravity” is a compilation of stunning moments. It is a movie about survival. It is a movie about redemption. Its title holds a multitude of meanings: literal, metaphorical and spiritual.
“Gravity” is a must see. It will land on many a top 10 list at the end of the year. It just may be the movie of the year! This movie is currently playing around town. Tony Baksa has spent most of his adult working life in show business, most notably in the New York theatre. He was director of promotions for 11 years with The Roundabout Theater Company on Broadway. Prior to that, he was head of fundraising for The New York Philharmonic for six years, working under the auspices of Maestros Leonard Bernstein, Zubin Mehta and Kurt Masur.
Before switching to producing, as well as theater administration, Baksa worked as a casting director for Broadway, regional theater, television and feature films. He began his show business career as an actor appearing on and off Broadway, as well as in regional theaters all over the U.S. and Europe.
He took to the cabaret stage between acting gigs, doing one-man shows, culminating in a concert at Carnegie Hall; he received positive reviews, especially from the New York Times music critic.
Baksa is the founder and artistic director of Hamburg Theatre Under The Stars. He as partnered with the Hamburg Public Library to form The Drama Circle, a play-reading club that performs once per month.
Baksa’s blog “The Kitchen Sink” was named one of the top 10 best new international blogs by Google.