Sandra Bullock is exceptional as panic-stricken astronaut, Ryan Stone, who becomes detached from her ship during a routine spacewalk, and the unfolding events ratchet the tension up to breaking point as Matt Kowalski (Clooney) attempts to bring her to safety and a nearby catastrophe rapidly begins to spiral out of control. Both actors have had their inconsistencies throughout the years but Bullock’s stellar performance as a fearful yet strong woman and Clooney’s calm and well grounded (for a man in space) character are a perfect combination of innocence and experience that provide a surprising emotional heft to this very unique disaster movie.
As Stone struggles to survive against seemingly impossible odds, subtle changes in her approach to survival mirror the character arc of Ripley in Alien; she begins to confront impending danger with a hitherto unknown inner strength and will seemingly stop at nothing even when safety is far out of reach. Kowalski is far more pragmatic about their situation, quickly realising that any chance of rescue is fading fast and spending just as much time enjoying the stunning vistas of outer space as working out a way to head home. You can almost forgive Kowalski’s lackadaisical approach to their situation as it is inevitable that your attention will also wander towards the spellbinding celestial views more than once during the course of the film.
One of the most difficult aspects of reviewing films is managing the audience's expectations; I know first-hand how damaging it can be when critics are overzealous with their praise only for the film in question to underwhelm, and more often than not choose to avoid reading reviews before viewing a film for this exact reason. That being said, some films undoubtedly leave an indelible impression on all who behold them, and in this instance, I have to agree with every single critic who heaps praise on Gravity as words cannot justify how incredible Cuaron’s latest film really is.
This is the first time in over three years of writing reviews that I have ever given a five star review, and I sincerely doubt that there will be a better film released this year, or even the next. I cannot wait to experience Gravity again, only this time around in the comfort of an IMAX cinema. Unmissable.
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