An author once said they could only see ‘terror in space’. This statement is true if you strip away the glossy trappings of the sci-fi genre. What’s left is a vast soundless vacuum with stars and planets an astronaut’s only company. Gravity explores this as two space-experts become endangered. The mortal peril they face highlights the unforgiving loneliness of space with their wits their only means of survival.
Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is on her first space mission. Accompanied by veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky (George Clooney), she is amazed by space’s many wonders. Her excitement turns to dread when satellite debris nearly destroys their space shuttle. Stranded and alone, Matt and Ryan must work together to survive with time quickly running out.
Co-written and directed by Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity is a good study in atmosphere. Using space’s infinite blackness as his back-drop, he conjures a gripping tale. Anything can happen and Cuaron ensures the idea is used to its maximum. Flying debris, broken shuttles and personal attitudes all conspire to un-do his character’s mission. Their battle against space’s remorseless ferocity continually engages with Bullock and Clooney providing strong performances.
Due to their convincing portrayals it’s easy to become caught in their character’s plights. How they handle the loss of everyday abilities such as walking is handled with skill. Their co-star is, of course, the dazzling CGI. The computer technicians have a field day with some truly stunning vistas. The suspension of belief is easy whilst viewing the computer-generated stars. This further draws you into the story with Cuaron successfully providing audiences with a full immersive experience.
Gravity’s simple premise and beguiling special effects make it worth watching. The outer limits of space have provided many films with taught drama and this latest sojourn amongst the stars is one of the best.
Reviewed by Patrick Moore
Rating out of 10: 8