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Michael Leader’s Review “Gravity” Is a Fine, if Backloaded, Review

In response to Michael Leader’s 343‑word review of Gravity on Film4 

http://www.film4.com/reviews/2013/gravity

By Marcus Julianus, Associate Critic

Michael Leader’s “Gravity” is a fine little review with delightful hints of Britishness, but ultimately its overloaded back half loses focus.

A strong opening act here promises something more than reviews of a similar readtime typically do. It’s implied that the audience can expect an analysis that draws sharp distinctions between the nature of a thing and what the thing actually represents.

The dichotomy continues well into paragraph two, as Gravity muses about the internal versus the external, isolation and insulation. Here are a few flashes of Leader’s Britishness the reader will doubtless find delightful: the imperialistic refusal to insert diacritical marks above the “o” in Cuarón, avoidance of the letter “z” (zed, in Leader’s parlance), abbreviations without full stops.

There’s no question: the artist is an Englishman.

Unfortunately, Leader drops the ball just past Gravity‘s halfway mark. Whereas Leader earlier extolled the virtues of “clear focus,” his work loses its sharpness and becomes incredibly dense.  Dramatic overuse of the comma and and some questionable word choices render whole sentences inexorable. It’s hard to keep up.

While the existential questions of the strong opening remain in the finale, Leader’s admonition not to “lose sight” of the most immediate qualities of a work seems hollow.  

Gravity is one of those reviews audiences will want badly to like, but will inevitably feel left behind by Leader. A fine effort from a fine scribe, but sadly nothing more.     

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation

Marcus Julianus was born and raised in Byzantium, where he spent his youth herding goats and making cheese. As a gatekeeper of the review world, Marcus offers his background in poetry and drama to opine on the work of the film critics.