The 57th BFI London Film Festival is currently underway in London, and Luke Grima from Wanna go to the Movies? has kindly agreed to share his thoughts on the films he has had the opportunity to see. After the jump check out Luke’s thoughts on Gravity and Half of a Yellow Sun.
A medical engineer Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and a veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky (George Clooney) work together to survive after an accident leaves them adrift in after a seemingly routine spacewalk.
Gravity is a film that doesn’t ease you in. Right from the start with its incredible dramatic beginning as we swoop through space to find three astronauts working on the International Space Station. Alfonso Cuarón’s first film in over 6 years from the brilliant dystopian Children Of Men is visually masterful treat.
As a film it’s actually pretty simple. Just a matter of getting from A to B, then from C to D. No flashbacks, no cutting to somewhere on earth, just that solid linear structure. With nothing more than Clooney, Bullock and Cuarón’s camera.
The main attraction to Gravity is its sheer visual wonderment of space and the earth together with its pulsating and thrilling score. Mix that in with brilliant single shots you have an intense ride. Clooney and Bullock are both solid, though the film does concentrate more on the latter.
Whilst Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity is fantastic and visionary with superb sound engineering and camera techniques, it felt ever so slightly lacking for me. I think for a film like this, the tension level could have been higher. As a technical exhibition it is just flawless but the story doesn’t quite equal its standards. And any comparisons to Kubrick’s 2001 is really of the mark. It’s still one of the best films of the year though and deserves to be seen on the biggest screen possible. However, do you know whats great about Gravity? Respecting the science of sound.
Half of a Yellow Sun
A drama that brings together the lives of four people during the struggle to establish an independent republic in Nigeria. The film focuses on the story of Olanna (Thandie Newton) and Odenigbo (Chiwetel Ejiofor). The film is based on the novel from the same name.
Half of a Yellow Sun is a film with intended ambition to tackle this true life story. But as a first feature it’s clearly seen. The story is poorly made and often felt cheap in its direction. Which is disappointing considering how much better it could have been.
The leads in Thandie Newton and Chiwetel Ejiofor are finely acted, especially from Ejiofor who is going have a flourishing career develop soon; a fine performance. Newton equally stands her own as she’s the lead but is over-shadowed by the brilliance of Ejiofor.
While the film may not be that good the positives come from the setting, the music and its war depiction. Scenes of bombing, civil riots and armed shootings are in fact the best parts of the film; these are very intense and well executed.
By Luke Grima