An expertly performed human drama contained within a technically flawless space age blockbuster
Few directors have mastered the art of using 3D in a way that enhances and deepens the human story. Martin Scorsese in Hugo perhaps. James Cameron in Avatar without doubt. Alfonso Cuarón makes it look effortless in Gravity, sculpting exemplary sound design, breathtaking images and 3D technology into a film that plunges the viewer straight to the heart of a sweat-inducing, pulse-racing nightmare scenario.
Gravity takes a simple premise and spins it into an experience so visceral and emotional that you forgive its cornier instincts and overlook how slight it sometimes appears. Scientist Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock), affable commander Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) and a fellow astronaut are working to repair their craft when a shower of debris comes hurtling towards them. Stone and Kowalski are detached from the ship, drifting into an eerie, terrifying silence. They are literally lost in space. No longer in contact with NASA and with oxygen supplies running dangerously low, Kowalski's calm reassurance that they can survive strikes a hollow note.
How this impossible dilemma plays out is handled with edge-of-the-seat tension and a good deal of existential musing. There is nothing like imminent death in a vast, starlit wilderness to concentrate the mind on what really matters and what it truly means to live and love.
Clooney brings a warm presence to a supporting role in which he provides the comic relief of sassy banter and long-winded yarns to distract from the terrors that await. However, this is really Bullock's film. She is in virtually every scene, nicely underplaying a part that allows her to travel the emotional gamut from despair to gritty determination, weary acceptance to rousing defiance. Expertly performed and technically flawless, Gravity finds the human pulse of the space age blockbuster.
General release from Fri 8 Nov.