Gravity must be the only film that can stop your heart and then restart it. It is a coronary-inducing, palpitation through the empty horror of space, where the difference between life and oblivion is the grip on your glove. The film is so stifling that it feels like being trapped in an underwater cave. Alfonso Cuarón brilliantly manages to make the infinity of space seem claustrophobic. It’s similar to the 2010 film Buried, but in the opposite way.
Sandra Bullock plays engineer Dr Ryan Stone, who has been sent into space after only 6 months training. Her supervisor, Matt Kowalski, takes the benign shape of George Clooney, whose face watches on smugly, like he’s just downed a particularly delicious cup of Nespresso. That is until some space debris flies through at Mach 23, puncturing things that really shouldn’t be punctured. As the nothingness threatens to come flooding in, Stone and Kawalski desperately try to get the hell out.
All the action has a soundless operatic quality that’s like watching a mute performance of Gotterdammerung (with a commentary by George Clooney). It’s better than it sounds. And it looks incredible. The earth hangs beautifully large and blue in every frame and the camera work is so inventive and kinetic, it leaves you both energised and exhausted.
The film is like climbing into a washing machine for an hour, and then stumbling into the tumble dryer – but in good way. It is a magnificent piece of filmmaking that floats like a butterfly and stings like one of those Chinese hornets.