Gravity (2013)

Starring: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Ed Harris

Directed by: Alfonso Cuarón

Rating: 1 2 3 4 and a half

'Here am I sitting in a tin can far above the world
Planet Earth is blue and there's nothing I can do...'

David Bowie, Space Oddity
Sandra Bullock in Gravity

In space, as we all know, no-one can hear you scream. They can, however, hear you pant in sheer, cold-sweat, bone-deep terror as you spiral helplessly away into the darkness, untethered, alone, and running low on oxygen.

Welcome to Gravity.

I'll be honest, despite Alfonso Cuarón doing such a brilliant job directing my favourite Harry Potter film, I had my reservations about this movie. How interesting can it be, watching Sandra Bullock spin around in space for ninety minutes? Answer, just as involving and gripping as it is watching Tom Hanks unravel on a desert island for 140 minutes. Seriously.

George Clooney in Gravity

Dr Ryan Stone (Bullock) is a medical scientist on a space station. With her is seasoned old hand Matt Kowalski (George Clooney), on his last mission before retirement. Not a bad person to be stranded in space with – provided he sticks around... When the two find themselves adrift following a disastrous extra-terrestrial collision of satellites, scattering debris across the skies, they must work together to find their way back to earth. Needless to say, that's easier said than done.


Gravity is probably one of the most stressful films I've ever seen, tapping into deep-seated, primeval fears of darkness, coldness, aloneness; the tiny, insignificance of human life spinning aimlessly through a vast, uncaring cosmos. I mean, the poster alone is enough to give me goosebumps.

That said, Gravity isn't a horror film, more an incredibly tense, nail-biting thriller with a (slightly sentimental) human drama at its core. Perfectly paced and well scripted, with only the occasional nod to other great space movies (there are shades of Ripley in Stone's grit-teethed monologues, while one scene is stolen straight from everyone's favourite off-earth adventure, WALL-E), it never fails to hold the attention, as Stone lurches from spacewalk frying pan to space station fire: just about the only peril she doesn't face is a slimy, face-hugging alien (spoiler?).

And it looks awesome. Finally, a 3D movie that allows me to forget I'm watching in 3D. That genuinely made me flinch as lumps of debris fly my way; that renders the huge, uncharted emptiness of space dizzyingly real, beautiful yet deadly. This is definitely a film to be seen in the cinema, a film to immerse yourself in, to lose yourself in. Just don't let go...

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