Opening 3 Oct 2013
Since moviemaking began, earthbound flicks have explored space featuring aliens, androids, intergalactic attacks, dystopian planets and otherworld life forms. Yet nothing is as terrifying as reality gone askew, which Gravity persuasively portrays. ‘Life in space is impossible’.
Outside the shuttle Explorer the atmosphere is clear. Medical engineer Dr. Stone (Sandra Bullock) and a colleague fine-tune a prototype. Commander Kowalsky (George Clooney) spacewalks jabbering with Houston – he has lots of stories. “We’re gonna’ miss you”, responds Houston (Ed Harris). The Explorer transmits a Russian satellite has been hit; there could be space debris. As Stone and Kowalsky banter, Houston abruptly broadcasts: return immediately to Explorer! Abort the mission! The satellite is causing a chain reaction – a blackout is coming. Disaster arrives with heart-pounding speed. Simultaneously, destruction and death. Veteran astronaut Kowalsky (centered, calm, disciplined) and persnickety novice Stone (panicked, distracted, detrimental) corkscrew into space. Any attempt at communicating with Houston meets silence. As their minutes tick by, our sense of dread mounts.
The short credits include Oscar® winners Clooney, Bullock, and nominee director/writer Alfonso Cuarón. In brilliant collaboration: the challenging cinematography (Emmanuel Lubezki), anticipative music (Steven Price) and clear-cut editing (Alfonso Cuarón, Mark Sanger) add to the film’s stunning pulchritude. Revel in the well-crafted script’s unexpected developments. Parenthetically, space debris is real. Board the flight! This is the closest most of us will come to spacewalking. (Marinell Haegelin)