Donald Clarke’s “Gravity” Is as Balanced as It Is Meaty
By Rochus Pomponius, Adjunct Critic
Donald Clarke’s “Gravity” is an exceedingly satisfying bit of criticism. It is able to recognize that the film doesn’t exist in a vacuum and deals with not only the film’s merits but his readers expectations. The end result is an enlightening and convincing experience.
After a discussion on genres that manages to bring some new references to the Gravity review genre (Robert Louis Stevenson anyone?), Clarke jumps right into the film’s visual appeal. He demonstrates a knack for description that is complemented by his proudly displayed knowledge of production history. The two play off each other for the duration of the review, keeping things fresh and interesting the whole way through.
Clarke’s Gravity is most compelling when it takes the film up on its failings, which are framed more as potential failings with enough redeeming qualities to avoid being fully realized. The arguments are cogent and timely. It proves to be a great way to work in commentary on Sandra Bullock’s performance without having to shift the focus of the narrative. A brilliant innovation.
One gets a very real sense of the film through Clarke’s writing. He has an amazing ability to actually communicate his thoughts to the audience. His final words are an echo of what’s gone unsaid throughout the whole review. He knows his audience’s expectations and he has written Gravity with only them in mind.