It's been seven years since Cuaron's last film, the visionary Children of Men. That's way too long a wait, although he has a good excuse for keeping us in suspense. The technology required to make the space-set Gravity is so state of the art, it was a case of waiting for it to be created before he could put it to film.
The story is a simple one, Sandra Bullock and George Clooney play NASA astronauts (well actually, Clooney refers to himself as just the bus driver) who, after a blizzard of space debris, find themselves adrift in space and cut off from all forms of communication. Anyone expecting an existential rumination a la Solaris may be disappointed. The script, written by Cuaron and his son Jonas, is purely a classic struggle for survival story, and as such it is extremely intense with a very lean narrative. This is 90 minutes that fairly whooshes by.
The drama is heightened by an incredible soundscape, which turns up the tension and builds suspense with its dramatic crescendos and abrupt silences. The visuals too are a thing of wonder. There is so much for the eye to enjoy, from the intricate design of the satellites to the incredible depth of field of the stars and a distant Earth. All of which is best appreciated in Imax 3D, making it a truly immersive experience.
Cuaron finds altogether new ways to blow things up, with each explosion happening in weightless slow motion and causing a fascinating, floating domino effect. From large scale set-pieces to such minutiae as a teardrop escaping Sandra Bullock's eye and levitating towards the camera, the special effects are constantly mesmerising.
Despite the technical prowess on display, the performances still count for a lot. Clooney injects charm and humour with an economy and style all his own. The film, however, belongs to Bullock, who is in pretty much every scene. When she's not swinging wildly from space hardware, she brings great empathy to her role with a winning combination of strength and vulnerability.
Gravity is a highly satisfying experience that works on many levels and is destined to set the bar for other space-themed films for years to come.
All images fromhttps://www.facebook.com/gravitymovie
Fabulous review if I had known this was here wouldn't have bothered to review it myself. That sums Bullock up perfectly - "a winning combination of strength and vulnerability." There is a typo on "blizzard" if you want to get it fixed. Best Nadine.