"I'm not a 'post-' anything."
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Steve Bezner has written a compelling analysis of the film Gravity here. An excerpt:
I recently saw the film Gravity, written and directed by Alfonso Cuarón. Several viewers of the film have noted Cuarón's assertion that the film is about "rebirth," focusing on this quote, "That was the point, for us, of the film. Adversities and the possibility of rebirth. And rebirth also metaphorical in the sense of gaining a new knowledge of ourselves. We have a character that is drifting metaphorical and literally, drifting towards the void. A victim of their own inertia. Getting farther and farther away from Earth where life and human connections are. And probably she was like that when she was on planet Earth, before leaving for the mission. It's a character who lives in her own bubble. And she has to shred that skin to start learning at the end. This is a character who we stick in the ground, again, and learns how to walk."Read the rest, but understand that his post contains some major spoilers.
Certainly there's something to that.
But I think there is something much more. I think that Cuarón is not simply talking about some sort of generic "rebirth" but is specifically telling the Christian story through an allegory of the story of the apostle Peter. Yes, it's a bold claim. But I think it is the best way to interpret the film. I think that Cuarón's explanation would work with this allegory, at least if told on his terms, but I'd like to explore the film using the story of the apostle Peter as the interpretive key, seeing if by "rebirth," he meant something closer akin to "salvation."
Sandra Bullock's character—Ryan Stone—is Peter. Stone has no business being in space. She is outside of her comfort zone. She is a doctor, not an astronaut. The mission is stretching her into a place that she has never been.
George Clooney's character—Matt Kowalski—is Jesus, or at least a Christ-figure. He is exceptionally comfortable. He is in complete control at all times, and he is the one who gives Stone a fighting chance.
The only other character of significance is Mission Control—Houston. Houston is voiced by Ed Harris (a clever nod to the Tom Hanks/Ron Howard Apollo 13) and represents God the Father. He is sometimes exceptionally easy to hear. Other times he is very quiet.
By the way, I saw Gravity this weekend in IMAX 3D and I highly recommend it.