Outstanding visual effects and an incredible performance from Sandra Bullock make Gravity one of the best films of the year. The movie has the ability to quickly draw the audience into the story and then keep you on the edge of your seat until the final credits roll.
Directed by Alfonso Cuarón (who shared writing duties with Jonás Cuarón), Gravity sees Bullock in the role of Dr. Ryan Stone, a medical engineer who was chosen to join a Space Shuttle mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope. She is joined by experienced astronaut Matt Kowalski (George Clooney), who is commanding his final mission in space.
The mission suffers catastrophic failure when debris from a Russian missile strike on a defunct satellite crashes into the shuttle and the Hubble. Unattached to the ship, Stone finds herself drifting away from the shuttle and Kowalski, who was in the process of doing a spacewalk while Stone did her repairs.
Kowalski manages to capture Stone and the two start trying to make their way to the International Space Station, which will lead to Stone being forced to attempt an even longer trip to a Chinese space station and back home. Along the way, Stone has to deal with her own fear, lack of oxygen and the coldness of being alone in space.
Gravity is a film that works on several levels. Cuarón makes the most of his space setting and the use of visual effects truly makes the audience feel as if they are drifting right there with Bullock. Some of the greatest moments of the film are when Cuarón and company strip the film of any sound to give the audience a glimpse of what Bullock’s character is experiencing as she watches explosions and drifts above the Earth. The talented director also makes sure to keep the pace moving so the audience never has a chance to catch its breath.
Bullock gives one of the best performances of her career and carries the movie on her shoulders. Like other survival films (such as Robert Redford’s All is Lost or Tom Hanks Castaway), the enjoyment of the film relies on the audience caring about if Bullock lives or dies. Early in the story, Bullock makes the audience care through a touching story of Stone’s daughter and her humorous interactions with Clooney, who is in the film long enough to add his natural charm to the story.
The film looks impressive on Blu-ray’s 1080p picture and comes loaded with about three hours of bonus material detailing all the hard work that went into bringing the visual effects to life. Diehard fans of the film will enjoy how much information is included in the “making of” features and the amount of work makes it clear Cuarón deserved his Oscar nomination.
As both a science fiction look at life in space and a survival thriller, Gravity offers its audience a ride they will not soon forget. The film has a few stumbles, but is well-worth the journey. Cuarón, Bullock and company have created a groundbreaking film and its many accolades are well-deserved.