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Brilliant Bits Don’t Rescue A. O. Scott’s “Gravity” Review From Retread

In response to A.O. Scott’s 1104‑word review of Gravity on New York Times

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While there are expected flashes of brilliance from veteran critic A. O. Scott, there’s precious little in “Between Earth and Heaven: ‘Gravity’ Stars George Clooney and Sandra Bullock” that isn’t a retread of some sort, knocking this fine piece down just a notch.

Scott has never been short on words, and at a readtime of just over 1100, this is one of the season’s longer offerings. However, where similarly supersized reviews are often heavy on fluff, Scott can be counted on never to waste a word. Between Earth and Heaven relies on brief but coherent sketches rather than long paragraphs, making his work eminently readable.

There are a few surprises in Between Earth and Heaven. A jaunt into physics is revealing; looks at the firmament from the skies are the springboard for a brief but astute observation that will make readers’ hands sweat. Without resorting to spoilers, the final couple paragraphs offer a revelation readers won’t see anywhere else.

Unfortunately for the fine effort, heavy as it is, it simply doesn’t have the weight of works that have come before. Scott’s voice lends the work a certain flavor that his fans will find very agreeable, but it’s hard to doubt that other artists have made the journey that Between Earth and Heaven makes. Some of them are tighter, stronger, cleverer. Better.

Between Earth and Heaven will delight Scott’s fan base, and is certainly worth the time—if one can find the time. Otherwise, what would almost certainly have been a masterpiece at any other point may end up being ignored.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation