The premise of “Gravity”, in theaters everywhere Oct. 4, is incredibly simple: A rookie medical engineer (Sandra Bullock) and a veteran astronaut out on his last mission (George Clooney) work together to survive after a catastrophic accident sends them adrift in space.
By now we all know that in space, no one can hear you scream, but there’s a fair chance you’ll hear screams, or something akin to them in the audience of any showing of “Gravity”--and before that reference takes the Ellen Ripley fans in another direction, no, the screams will not be the result of aliens. Rather, the impossibility and of the situation Ryan Stone (Bullock) and Matt Kowalski (Clooney) find themselves in, and the suspense so thick you can carve it like a turkey on Thanksgiving, will evoke the visceral response from viewers.
Alfonso Cuarón’s visual and suspenseful triumph (a rare movie that truly makes something wonderful to behold in 3D) is a 90-minute thrill ride that demands to be seen in the darkness and scale of a theater. Cuarón has created a film that is truly uncanny. The scenes of space are, in equal measure, breathtakingly beautiful and relentlessly haunting. The silence and the stillness leap off the screen and into the very atmosphere of the theater from the word go, and it becomes immediately clear that “Gravity” is meant to be experienced, not just watched.
Bullock and Clooney deliver exceptional performances, carrying the weight of Cuarón’s creation with the strength of their chemistry and well-rounded characters. Bullock in particular must own a considerable amount of screentime as just one woman against the universe and does so admirably. Ed Harris lends the duo a nice assist with some voice work as mission control for NASA.
Jeffrey Kluger, TIME’s resident space and technology, expert wrote an article that highlights some of the scientific inaccuracies to be found in “Gravity”, and while it makes for interesting reading (after watching the movie), perhaps the most important point of his message is this:
“It’s really beside the point to mention any scientific inaccuracies in 'Gravity' since the movie is so gripping, so jaw-dropping, so visually, gobsmackingly good that it seems churlish to pay attention to much else. What’s more, 'Gravity', which does get much more right than it gets wrong, is not 'Apollo 13' or 'The Right Stuff'—movies that had to hew close to history because they were based on real events… 'Gravity' is a space disaster and survival movie that never happened in real life—though in smaller and surely less cinematic ways it could.”
“Gravity”, with all the weight of expectations pushing down upon it, is quite as simply as its premise, that good. If that's not enough endorsement for you, consider this: Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, wrote his own review and proclaimed that he was "very, very impressed."