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Oliver Lyttelton’s “Gravity” Review Shirks Pretense to Incredible Effect

In response to Oliver Lyttelton’s 913‑word review of Gravity on The Playlist

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Unlike many offerings that extend past the 700-word range, Oliver Lyttelton’s “Venice Review: Alfonso Cuarón’s ‘Gravity’ Starring Sandra Bullock + George Clooney” is unpretentious, insightful entertainment of a high order.

Lyttelton’s epic begins with President Kennedy’s vow to visit the moon in 1961. With a (perhaps unintentional) nod to Nixon’s chilling 1969 address, only to be read if Armstrong et al. were stranded on the moon, we find the author contemplating death and loneliness.

Weighty matters for sure, but Lyttelton deals with them deftly throughout Venice Review, managing the rare feat of balancing word count with thoughts that matter.  

The opening scene gives way to a sprawling landscape, contrasting the constriction of the space suit with the vastness of space itself. The reader is treated to a fair amount of exposition that values a very precise type of vagueness. It’s a measured effort: the language is evocative, curiosity-piquing, but spoiler-free.  

Lyttelton himself is unaffected, which makes his work so entertaining. As he navigates through topics such as sound design and CGI, he neither talks down to his audience nor feels the need to couch his opinions in unpronounceable or obscure words.

A strong resolution here closes the story, but for the audience, the wonder lingers. Lyttelton is a master storyteller and Venice Review is without a doubt one of the greatest successes of Gravity film review season.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation