Gravity - Film Review

Gravity has been out in the US for weeks. Everyone on the other side of the Atlantic loves it, pretty much without exception. It isn't out in the UK until November 8th. I got to see it because I'm a jammy sod who responds to emails quicker than others. 

(Warning: minor spoilers. If you want to go in cold, but you still clicked an article titled 'Gravity - Film Review' then you're beyond help anyway and you might as well keep reading.)

The film contains the handsome face of George Clooney (mostly seen peering out of a space-suit) and Sandra Bullock, who winds up getting a fair bit more screen time. The story starts with three happy astronauts performing outside maintenance on a satellite. They're repairing a circuit board which does something-or-other. Doesn't matter.

Everything goes as expected until someone on Earth decides to blow up a satellite positioned hundreds of miles away from them. Just a routine space explosion, you know how it is. Unfortunately for everyone currently trapped in a suit and tied to a broken satellite, debris from that one explosion causes a chain reaction and bashes up OTHER satellites until there's a million sharp pieces of destroyed metal orbiting the earth at insane speeds.

Eventually the debris pays messrs Clooney and Bullock a visit and beats the free-floating piss out of their craft. Clooney does his best to keep everyone calm despite experiencing their own mini version of the apocalypse (replace 'space debris' with 'meteors', and 'Clooney' with 'a dinosaur', and this analogy makes a bit more sense) but Bullock freaks her shit and winds up separated from everything, spinning away from Earth in a never-ending trajectory of doom.

Did I mention that pretty much all of that, which I just described, happens in one continuous shot? Because it does and it's awesome.

And that's all you need to know about the film, going in. You can see pretty much all of that in the trailer...

To say any more would ruin it. Honestly, even knowing that much kinda ruins it. This is the kind of film you would rather not know a thing about until one day you're kidnapped and dragged into a mysterious cinema, and you sit there terrified for your life until the title appears on screen and the kidnapper removes the ball-gag so you can eat some popcorn. Ignorance is your friend here, is what I'm trying to say.

Despite not being named on the posters, 'Space' is as much of a character in this movie as either headliner. Space is the big bad guy; the unrelenting, murderously uncaring entity that can (and will) kill if given half the chance. It doesn't even have to do anything except exist. Also, it's bloody huge. When Bullock starts to float off into it, you feel how she must feel. The camera lets her go until she becomes a speck of nothing. The tension created is unbearable.

There are hints of the horror genre in the way tension is built and released, there's even a jump scare, and the feeling of foreboding terror never really goes away. The concept is horrifying enough - being lost alone in space with no one around to help you - but the film really hammers it home. Scenes of heart-wrenching emotion and shots of brain-melting beauty sit aside those filled with frantic, desperate action (and even the occasional, surprising splash of gore).

To sum up: See this film. See it on the biggest screen you can put in front of your eyes. See it in 3D if your stomach can stand it. It's original, breath-taking and stunningly well put together. And it isn't a sequel - which is nice.

5 out of 5. Unlike anything else you'll see this year.

Words by Chris Welsh