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Gravity - The Review

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A few things will happen while watching Gravity.

Your palms will become sweaty, then they may seek comfort at the sides of your face. You'll feel isolated, alone. Little wonder your breathing will become shallow. With your body empathising with the characters, this is clearly not the sort of film you can ignore.

Essentially a two-hander between Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, it charts the aftermath of a disastrous space walk from their shuttle, ravaged by debris.

The opening 13 minute, one-take shot is among the best ever created. A masterpiece of fluid camerawork, special effects and audience-engrossing storytelling.

Orson Welles would have clapped; Martin Scorsese and Brian DePalma either applauded or sulked because director Alfonso Cuaron has aptly raised the bar to orbital levels.

His work on Children of Men was incredible a few years ago, but that was a mere dry run for what he achieves here.

Gravity is the sort of movie James Cameron would make, though he would probably insist on shooting it in orbit for real. Little wonder he's been one of the film's most ardent supporters since it wowed critics earlier in the year.

What Bullock and Clooney do next will not be revealed here. Let's just say what unfolds during the 90 minute running time is an assault course of wires, pipes, machinery and two characters' desire to survive.

Like all great films, the movie is filled with memorable moments.
The sight of Bullock floating foetus-like in a window is one of the year's most stunning.
Sandra has been a favourite actress for 20 years, but has never looked more beautiful, possibly because she is the softest looking protagonist against a sea of tech.

George is also hugely appealing. Yes, more than usual. His cocky, charismatic veteran astronaut is wonderfully watchable, though I imagine the endless wire work must have been a pain during the movie's four year production.

Some films squander 3D but this makes the most of it, exploiting the medium beautifully. The sound, if heard in the right theatre, is also superb. NASA chatter adds the right audio tone from the off, while Ed Harris' voice is a great, comforting shorthand for anyone raised on classic NASA epics The Right Stuff and Apollo 13.

Some of you may wait for Blu Ray or DVD, but this is one of those films that demands the best full-on cinema experience you can find.

For me the sight of raining debris streaking across Earth during the final minutes is something I'll not forget in a hurry. It's a sucker punch moment that snuck up and left me choking back tears.
Okay, read out of context it will mean little, like trying to describe a fireworks display to someone who had never seen one.

Sometimes good films need that cascade of pyrotechnics to act as a full stop or exclamation mark to a breathtaking paragraph. Not just an explosion. That's a bit too obvious. Here flaming, streaking debris acts like razors across the cinema screen. This movie causes mental scars, in the best possible sense; a nail-biting, gripping chapter of cine grammar that students will copy for years to come.

Gravity is little short of a masterpiece. If Sandra Bullock doesn't get another Oscar, and Cuaron at least a nomination for Best Director, there is going to be some serious gnashing of teeth among the movie-loving community.

See it... but don't forget to breathe.