At 372 Miles Above The Earth
There Is Nothing To Carry Sound
No Air Pressure
No Oxygen
Life In Space Is Impossible

Gravity

–       Directed by Alfonso Cuarón
–       Starring Sandra Bullock, George Clooney

In “Gravity” we encounter a tale of life, death, and rebirth. Dr. Ryan Stone and Commander Matt Kowalski played respectively by Sandra Bullock and George Clooney are the sole survivors of a chain of events that devastates their mission. Stranded in space and at the mercy of the unforgiving, unbending laws of motion, the two struggle to survive in the void.

Watching this movie in 3D on the big screen is probably the closest that any of us will ever come to experiencing space. So intricate is the cinematography and the sound design that we feel as if we too are not merely spectators but participants in the action that unfolds on screen. At one point I even got the sensation that I was physically spinning in the emptiness even though gravity was firmly pressing me into my seat. I have never had that sensation before from watching a screen. The depiction of spaceflight is just like in my imagination, incredible views, odd perspectives, and silence.

In the opening scene, when Dr. Ryan Stone is asked what she likes most about space she replies, “The silence.” And it’s true. The silence is peaceful. No background noises, no distractions; Just the voices of the actors and the atmospheric music. Yet, it becomes eerie. As the debris shatters the shuttle you would expect to hear the screeches and shrieks that should signify the death of a mechanical beast, but nothing. At most, you hear the muffled thumps of vibrations detected by the spacesuit.

You become aware of how alone you are. This realm is beyond sound, beyond companionship, beyond humanity, beyond Earth. This realm in the end is dead, lifeless. “Life in space is impossible.”

We realize that Dr. Stone has come to space in order to escape from life. After the death of her daughter to the senseless whim of gravity, she only wishes to escape it. Dr. Stone like her daughter is effectively dead. She is beyond the protective embrace of her mother, Earth. She is subject to forces that buffet her around and render her powerless.

I still remember vividly that moment where Sandra Bullock’s character is desperately reaching for safety that floats but inches away and she can’t reach it, despite her desperate struggles; but she must reach it. Returning to Earth is the only way she can return to life, to be reborn.

* * * * *

Advertisements