Release date: October 4, 2013
Directed by: Alfonso Cuarón
Written by: Alfonso Cuarón and Jonás Cuarón
Official website: gravitymovie.warnerbros.com
Imagine being suspended in space, a couple hundred miles above our Earth's. Then, everything goes horribly wrong. You are spinning out of control. All you can see is the Earth as you spin out of control, drifting further and further away. It sounds like a nightmare.
Meet Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock), a biomedical engineer making her first space walk as a member of the space shuttle Explorer flight crew. She is teamed with veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski (George Clooney), who is making his final trip to the stars. Now, neither Dr. Stone's presence in space nor what they are doing on this particular mission is never entirely clear, but once this movie gets going it doesn't matter.
When debris from a destroyed satellite hits the shuttle and renders it dead in space, Dr. Stone and Kowalski lose all contact with Mission Control and find themselves low on oxygen. Now they have to find shelter in a space station, before the next round of debris heads their way -- and its coming fast.
There is little real plot and no real driving story other than getting to know Dr. Stone in one of the most vulnerable and horrifying situations someone could find themselves in. But that is what makes it so amazingly thrilling. It is two people floating through space and the battle to survive complicated with the struggle of inner turmoil. The sheer simplicity helps keep the focus entirely on every little thing that is experienced by these astronauts.
Director Alfonso Cuarón has established himself as one of the great directors of thought provoking sci-fi thrillers with the highly underrated "Children of Men" (2006) and even "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban". Here, working from a script he wrote with his son Jonás Cuarón, the claustrophobic camera and eye-popping cinematography work steal the show. Beginning with an opening shot that spans nearly the first ten full minutes of the movie, the film is a spectacular, visually stunning and an emotionally intense ride.
Cuarón's brilliant direction puts the audience in this horrifying situation of being alone, in space -- the camera often acts as the eyes of Dr. Stone -- and they experience the horror of being lost in space as if they are living it. The results are some of the most beautiful shots of space colliding with breathtaking and intense action, which looks spectacular on the IMAX screen. But it's the film's surprising emotional pull that cements its brilliance.
Sandra Bullock and George Clooney are almost literally the only two people in the movie. Clooney is the charming dude he always is, acting as a mentor, as well as an angel on the shoulder of Bullock, who plays a character who feels she has nothing to live for, but now must find the courage to fight for her life against the most impossible odds.
"Gravity" is a visual masterpiece and is easily one of the most emotional and stunning films of the year, but it also may soon be considered among the best space movies ever.
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