Monday, October 7, 2013
It's the perfect set-up. A couple of astronauts on a routine mission outside their spacecraft for repairs suddenly find themselves adrift in space, tethered to each other, and no longer in contact with mission control. Where can they go? What can they possibly do?
The variety of answers may surprise you in Gravity, a smart, lean, elegantly composed and utterly gripping edge-of-your-seat thriller from filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón. Neither sci-fi nor space opera—and far more than simply a star vehicle for appealing headliners Sandra Bullock and George Clooney—Gravity is more like a space procedural in which ordinary people pit their own human ingenuity against ever more incredible and daunting odds.
Scripted by the director and his son, Jonas Cuarón, the story begins in space, where medical engineer Ryan Stone (Bullock), on her first space mission, is outside the craft in her bulky suit trying to repair a communications link-up to send data back to Houston.
Meanwhile, her colleague, veteran mission commander Matt Kowalski (Clooney), is on a long tether, cheerfully chugging rings around her, trying to beat a Russian cosmonaut's record for the longest space walk.
"You're the genius up here," Matt reminds her, "I only drive the bus."
But things change in a heartbeat when debris from some of the myriad international space stations sent into space and abandoned comes hurtling toward them. But that's only the beginning of a taut plot of mounting intensity.
Cuarón doesn't waste a single frame, and every one of the film's 90 minutes counts.
And as if the adrenalin-rush storyline were not enough, the movie is astonishingly beautiful to look at. It looks as if the entire film were shot at zero-gravity; nothing looks fake or CGI. But Cuarón's emphasis is always on the human element. Awesome on so many levels, Gravity will put you in orbit. (Read more)