Sound in Film: Gravity

For this week’s blog post, I decided to write about Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity, starring Sandra Bullock, George Clooney and Ed Harris. This film takes place in the vacuum of space. In fact, only one scene shows the actors on Earth. I decided to use this film to explore sound because the amount of silence in this movie is almost deafening. 

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Space is a vast vacuum. There is no way for sound vibrations to travel unless one is touching another to pick up the vibrations, or using the radios. The entire opening scenes of this movie were breath taking. I first saw this film in IMAX and can still remember how powerful the silence was and how large the director was able to portray space on the big screen. This was no easy task by any means. At first I believed the film’s sound was actually glitching in the theater until I realized they were really portraying the reality of sound moving through the vacuum of space. 

 

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Throughout this movie, you see realistic examples of how sound travels through space. First of all, there is no music in the film. The film makers wanted this to seem as real as possible. There are various cues I didn’t even realize the first time I watched this film, until i saw it again and everything to make sense. The explosions in space are even silent, and the audience hears many of the sounds faint at first, until the person or object gradually gets closer. I believe this was an extraordinary use of sound in a movie. It took the director’s knowledge and what must have been painstaking work of actors and sound editors to make this film truly remarkable and as real as can be.

 

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Ryan Augustowski

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