A man reaching the end of his natural life has to juggle his quest to find a decent adoptive family for his dog and an unexpected visit from an old friend.
Despite this unrelentingly close experience of events, a number of self-conscious shots in which we only see the back of main actress Denise Newman’s head, and a story that is very simple, first-time director Hermanus succeeds in gripping his audience thanks to his self-assured direction that steers the film away from any fake sentimentality.
The sharp focus on Chakra, who appears in every single scene, draws us into his story regardless of whether we feel we understand him. Although a couple of the scenes are haunting because of their implicit inhumanity (the dismemberment of one of the slaves is particularly tough to watch), Buoyancy does not engage in gratuitous violence. Its mostly taciturn central character stoically confronts…
For the film critic, the problem with twist endings is that it is frowned upon to dwell on that final revelation, despite their importance to the experience. Even just mentioning that there is a last-minute information dump that causes us to rethink the entire film is often too much for the reader to handle. It’s a fine line to walk, but neither the critic nor the reader/potential viewer should be overly sensitive, particularly if it is made clear why such information is included.
Films like Gravity are one in a million. Besides reminding everyone of the incredible visual talents he has that never overwhelm the story he tells, Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón, who has honed his skills at directing long but dynamic scenes with a single take, ambitiously faced the challenge of a minimal cast and has delivered a film for the ages.