What should be a simple repair job and Commander Kowalski’s final space mission turns into a desperate struggle to survive when a destroyed Soviet satellite and all its debris come speeding toward the astronauts and their space shuttle, effectively destroying it. This leaves Stone and Kowalski cut off from communications with Houston and causes them to work together to try to find a way to survive with only their space suits, oxygen – which they’re beginning to run low on – and Kowalski’s jetpack as their life raft.
Suspenseful and visually breathtaking, Gravity is a true piece of movie-making magic which needs to be seen up on the big screen in 3D to truly appreciate its groundbreaking craftsmanship. Flawlessly directed by Alfonso Cuaron, the film’s pacing is tight and thrilling with the use of long takes, and the cinematography is a wonder to watch. The audience is sure to feel as though they are up in space with the two astronauts who are struggling to find a way to survive. The fantastic use of 3D in scenes where the debris in space comes hurtling at the astronauts is sure to have the audience almost ducking their heads to avoid the space carnage.
Sandra Bullock delivers a raw, emotional, and powerful performance as Dr. Stone, a rookie in space who on her first mission is faced with such a horrific situation even seasoned astronauts would be terrified. It’s her strongest performance since The Blind Side.
George Clooney is perfectly cast as the veteran space cowboy Kowalski who loves his space walks and is almost sad about retiring until the accident. His strength, courage, and experience are the only hope if he and Stone are to possibly survive this deadly situation.
One weakness in the film is that the audience is only given about five to six minutes to get to know Kowalski and Stone before their nightmare in space starts. It helps that both Clooney and Bullock are well known stars, but still the audience isn’t given the chance to connect or begin to care about the characters which would have heightened the suspense during the characters’ fight to survive. It’s also unfortunate that the musical score composed by Steven Price at times becomes intrusive and detracts from the action and drama in a few scenes.
Gripping and a true visual delight, Gravity is one of the best science fiction thrillers to come along in years and is also one of the best films of the year.
Gravity is rated PG-13 for intense perilous sequences, some disturbing images and brief strong language.
– By Kevin Finnerty
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