Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Writers: Alfonso Cuarón and Jonás Cuarón
Starring: Sandra Bullock and George Clooney
Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity is a technical marvel to look at, with flash visuals and some of the most seamless and impressive special effects on screen. The opening is beyond tense, with Sandra Bullock playing Dr Ryan Stone, an engineer who is thrown into space after debris hits the Space Shuttle Explorer. The opening has you completely hooked, feeling it in your gut as she’s shot out into nothingness. The reflection of Earth spinning around in her visor is dizzying to watch, and the isolation and hopelessness is instant.
Then George Clooney, who plays Lieutenant Matt Kowalski, appears almost out of nowhere and saves her, bringing her back to the shuttle and together they start to head towards the International Space Station in order to find a way back down to Earth. You know they can’t keep that level of tension up for the entire film, but it’s dissipated almost immediately, and no matter how hard it tries it never regains it. You know that Dr Stone has to survive until at least the final moments, as the film is from her perspective, so no matter how dire the situation, or how low her oxygen is, she manages to survive. Even with the lack of tension for the majority of the film, the opening is so visceral and powerful that it doesn’t matter.
Visually Gravity is simply stunning. You’d believe this was shot in space, with the way weightlessness is shot, and how beautiful the Earth looks from space. It’s captivating to watch, even with just how detailed the sets are, with the intricate tools used in the opening when Stone is completing her mission. Sandra Bullock is also absolutely brilliant in the role, carrying everything in the film with her performance. It only works because she’s so believable as a character.
While the film does lose a lot of its tension with the way Stone manages to survive everything, it’s still an entertaining and gripping film to watch. This would have been something special to see on the big screen in IMAX when it was first released.
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