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Stephanie Zacharek’s “Lightning From the Heavens” Is Pretty but Bloated

In response to Stephanie Zacharek’s 1098‑word review of Gravity on Village Voice

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Stephanie Zacharek opens the film review “Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity is Lightning From the Heavens” by paraphrasing the writer Elmore Leonard on his advice to never open a book with weather and posing the rhetorical question as to whether or not she should take his advice.

She should have, as opening with a weather report for her screening of Gravity only delays getting to the meat of her review, and is symptomatic of the verbal bloat that plagues Lightning From the Heavens throughout the course of its 1098-word run-time.

Zacharek expends too much energy on minor details that don’t enhance the reader’s experience, such as how pretty star Sandra Bullock’s face looks and a confusing comparison to Brian De Palma’s Mission to Mars that seems only to exist to prove that Zacharek has seen other movies that take place in outer space.

It’s nice to see a writer try so hard to put her stamp on a movie review and really make it her own, but Zacharek tries too hard and overshoots her mark.  Lightning From the Heavens is a pretty review, rich with imagery that would have been left on the cutting room floor by other reviewers, but unfortunately much of that material should have been left on the cutting room floor.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation