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LFF 2013: Gravity | reviews, news & interviews

LFF 2013: Gravity

LFF 2013: Gravity

Bullock and Clooney are lost in space, in Alfonso Cuarón’s jaw-dropping space drama

'I told you it was the spark plugs'. Hollywood stars need a new ride home, in 'Gravity'Courtesy of Warner Bros Pictures

As good as many films are, few have the “wow” factor that leaves you elated, high as a kite. Gravity is one of those. Alfonso Cuarón’s space drama is a cinematic tour-de-force, after which it takes quite a while to come back to Earth.

A team of US astronauts are space walking outside their shuttle. Mission commander Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) calmly tells jokes while he enjoys the view; Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock), a scientist on her first mission, is a bag of nerves. Suddenly they receive a message from Houston that the debris from a destroyed Russian satellite is speeding towards them.

Astronauts cast adrift in space might seem a problematic place to open a story, but Cuarón and co-writer son Jonás contrive a possibility of survival. It’s preposterous, of course, but so tightly plotted and directed with such verve that it’s impossible not to go along for the ride.

Special effects and cinematography – given an atypically appropriate shot of 3D – combine to evoke the beauty of Earth from space and the chill, disorienting strangeness of the void, while also serving the action-packed developments. Though an extraordinary technical achievement, the film’s excellence lies in the marriage of illusion with story and character; along with wonderment comes surprise, excitement, tension and a keen desire to see these people survive.

With the focus on the rookie’s trial by fire, Bullock ably answers the call to carry the film. But Clooney’s presence is crucial to its emotional core; even when his square-jawed delivery conjures Buzz Lightyear, the high comedy fits effortlessly into this totally immersive experience.

The film’s excellence lies in the marriage of illusion with story and character

rating

Editor Rating: 
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

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