With a 3D blockbuster released every week, it’s a rare thing to go to the movies and be visually and viscerally blown away by what you see up there on the screen.
Alfonso Cuaron’s space thriller achieves this in spades, with a long, unbroken opening shot that sees garrulous astronaut George Clooney hurtle towards us over the curve of the earth until he is literally in our faces.
This is amplified by the 3D effects – and will no doubt be even more breathtaking under an IMAX screen.
The Muscat Grand Mall crowd contained its usual share of heckling, iPhone twiddling and popcorn munching irritants, but within a few seconds of the start of Gravity, a hushed awe descended.
Clooney is full of easy charm, as if he’s down the bar with his buddies rather than on a NASA mission to repair the Hubble Telescope.
By contrast, Sandra Bullock is the focused scientist who has been trained for this job but exhibits just the nervousness you would expect from a space virgin.
This is cinema at its purest – transporting the audience into the stratosphere as we follow the fates of Clooney and Bullock amid an unfolding disaster caused by an exploding satellite.
Once the jeopardy is established, it never lets go. The characters are only one false move away from a silent death floating above a stunningly recreated earth.
With the Shuttle fatally damaged and communications with Houston lost, we experience their awe and fear as they try to find a way back home.
“I hate space,” says Bullock in probably the film’s best line, as night gradually turns to day and the outlines of familiar coastlines appear many miles below.
Toward the end, she has an epiphany, prompted by a very moving reunion – which is the film’s most powerful and surprising scene. It is the culmination of her conversation with Clooney about life and why it’s worth fighting for when all seems lost.
There is a slight shift of tone into safe Hollywood territory in the final section, with swooning music telling us that we are at the point of resolution. While gripping, the script cannot quite match the sublime achievement of the cinematography.
Gravity may be one small step in the history of space dramas, but it marks a giant leap in the art of creating something truly astounding on the
Review by Joe Gill