Imagine being lost in space with George Clooney? Many women would happily trade places with Sandra Bullock for that experience but maybe not after watching Gravity.
Bullock and Clooney are astronauts whose mission turns to disaster when their space station comes in to the line of fire of debris hurtling at mega-speed.
As Alphonso Cuaron’s audacious, imaginative and cinematically breathtaking film, best seen in Imax 3D states: 600km above the Earth’s surface, with rapidly fluctuating temperatures and an absence of oxygen, life is impossible.
In this atmosphere, Cuaron tells the story of a woman’s loneliness, of the challenges of living a quiet and isolated life and the pull of gravity that gives us a comforting and unimaginable sense of rootedness.
This is a film about survival and soul-searching; it’s about forgiveness and realising that while you were the walking dead, when actually given a choice between living and dying (like Bullock’s medical engineer is given), your strength and choices might surprise you.
Cuaron magnificently creates a world of weightlessness where characters and objects float and gasp for breath; where silence and darkness are claustrophobic; where the sunrise is magical and dangers is frightening close. You feel the painful loneliness and quiet of space.
Emmanuel Lubezki’s incredible cinematography brings to life Cuaron’s vision.
There is a beautiful shot of a teardrop floating in space, which stayed with me days after I had seen the film. Though you might fault the dialogues for being a tad cheesy, I wonder if that was deliberately done to alleviate the onscreen tension. The background music is dramatic with swells and dips.
Bullock is outstanding as Dr. Ryan Stone, conveying a range of emotions and immediately winning the audience to her side. Clooney is charming, even in a brief role as Matt Kowalski where he is mostly inside a space suit. It’s his character that brings lightness to an intense film.
This is cinema as it should be – pushing the envelope, pushing imagination and technology. So involved do you feel that you are grateful for the ground beneath your feet when your legs feel like jelly at the end. Cuaron, whose filmography is as diverse as Y Tu Mama Tambien, Children of Men and Harry Potter: The Prisoner of Azkaban, may have taken a few creative liberties with his plot, but you can overlook those because he has crafted a thrilling cinematic experience that should not be missed.