I have just watched the multi award winning film Gravity. I can see why it picked up so many golden globe and bafta accolades and has now walked away with 7 oscars including best director. I watched it; ironically on a plane to Los Angeles- there is something disconcerting watching someone else facing disaster on a flight. With the amount of turbulence on our transatlantic flight it felt like the pilot was going the extra mile to make sure we had the full multisensory experience!
I am very pleased Gravity won so many awards because its central message is one worth pondering. (I will try not to give away any spoilers that watching the trailer wouldn’t have given you anyway.)
Sandra Bullock plays Dr Ryan a woman on a journey who encounters loss, tragedy and adversity even before she steps onboard the Space Shuttle. Her job is to install a new module into the Hubble Space Telescope that will help human beings to peer deeper into the universe by utilising a technology that was aimed to help us look deeper inside a person. This ironic mission is a little insight into the thrust of the movie. Its going to take a disaster hundreds of miles above the earth on the edge of infinity for Dr Ryan to be able to face her internal demons.
Sandra Bullock; who’s big break in cinema came in the movie Speed – the story of a runaway bus that cannot be allowed to stop or a bomb will kill all of its passenger, is in once again in for “one hell of a ride.” As the central character in a film that showcases groundbreaking technical effects to the extent that in most scenes the only non CGI thing on the screen is Bullock’s face in a computer generated visor. In their Bafta winning acceptance speech the producers talk about “Sandy” making the film human and they are right on the money. Bullock is the only human element in the film. Clooney comes across as a kind of Buzz Lightyear figurine – too full of great oneliners , stories and heroism to be taken very seriously. Even when there is a crucial game changing decision he makes it’s hard to get too attached to him.
But Bullock is a broken, human character in need of redemption. In the split second decisions she has to make we see how life is completely in the balance, we are tiny fragile human beings teetering on the edge of infinity. One slip, one lost handhold and its all over we go spiralling away into the abyss. It is in the middle of tragedy and with her life hanging in the balance, surrounded by the best of human technology that Bullock reaches out to God. She wants to pray but no one has ever taught her how and so she cries out into the intercom hoping that someone might hear her. It shouldn’t take a tragedy for people to reach out to God. God has left evidence in history and in the wonders of the universe for us to see him and seek him. But the Christian God is a humble God, he is not too proud to receive us even if it is only coming to the edge of death that makes us realise us the gravity of our situation without him.