Food for Cinema Thought: Sandra Bullock Is One Tough Lady

I just saw Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity in IMAX 3D and wow, is it thrilling. It’s kind of like Alien but without the alien (including a leading lady who occasionally strips down to her underwear à la Sigourney Weaver as Ripley, although that is straying from my point). The bleak beauty of space as visualized by cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, combined with an evocative score composed by Steven Price, makes everything all the more exciting. And instead of experiencing the claustrophobia of space while inside a spaceship, characters face the reality of possibly being lost in space without anyone but themselves to guide them – a different kind of isolation and fear.

Speaking of the leading lady, Sandra Bullock does a magnificent job. I imagine that all of the acting she did must have been even tougher than the emotional and physical requirements because she would have had to accomplish much of it opposite a green screen. Seeing Bullock’s character battle the elements of the universe, I was reminded of some of the other films she has been in which require her character to do superhuman lifesaving, either of herself or of others.

Ah, Speed. An endlessly entertaining movie. It’s up to Sandra Bullock to drive a bus with a bomb on it by keeping the speed level above 50 miles per hour, or else the bomb will kill her and all the other civilian passengers on board. (The terrorist maniac is, of course, played by Dennis Hopper.) Even with Keanu Reeves as a cop helping Bullock out, she’s the one who takes on the responsibility of being the driver.

Might I also point out that I’ve seen Speed 2: Cruise Control, because yes, it seemed necessary viewing at the time? If you thought steering an out-of-control bus was hard, try dealing with the same problems (mad bomber Willem Dafoe included) on a Caribbean cruise ship! But worry not – Sandy gets it done.

Consider also Demolition Man (Bullock plays a police lieutenant in a future setting), The Net (computer analyst forced to go on the run when she stumbles upon an Internet conspiracy), A Time to Kill (outspoken law student), Miss Congeniality and Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous (FBI agent, pictured above in the sequel), Murder by Numbers (experienced homicide detective) and The Heat (FBI agent again). I like that Sandra Bullock doesn’t just play damsels in distress. On occasion she may have to don outlandish getups and engage in slapstick, but she knows how to play tough women.

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