What a stomach spinning 91 minutes. After waiting almost a month since the U.S. release for Alfonso Cuarón’s, Sandra Bullock hurdling Gravity to hit UK cinemas, I am happy with the finished product.

Cuarón seems to have been on a seven year hiatus since his 2006 smash hit Children of Men, but the wait has been worth it. Delivering what is possibly the film of the year and Sandra Bullock’s performance of her career, Cuarón has really outdone himself.

With a shuttle smashing story that follows rookie medical engineer, Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) as she is left fumbling through space after a routine spacewalk goes tremendously wrong. For the next 75 minutes we’re treated to a harrowing story of survival.

Even though Stone is left adrift in space, Bullock doesn’t once drift from character. She manages to deliver one of the best performances I’ve seen in a long time and even though George Clooney’s short screen time may overshadow her thanks to his much needed humour, Bullock really does give a beautifully emotional performance.

The character development is utterly first class (which shouldn’t have been hard, with almost an hour devoted to Bullock on screen). But it’s the subtle changes we see her character go through that are truly astounding. The light touches on her breathing, she quickly panics at first but learns to become more calm as the film goes on. It’s these little details that really make Bullock stand out from the plethora of space performances out there.

It’s not just the acting that is spot on though, the CGI is literally out of this world and not since Avatar have I seen a Sci-Fi look so mesmerizing – which is to be expected after James Cameron himself declared this to be “the best space film ever made.” The film is more finely crafted than the space stations that are left hurtling across our screens in such a crisp fashion. It’s a technical marvel.

But despite its technical achievements, it’s hard to lock it in the same pod as other sci-fi films. Gravity is so dramatically gripping and like its namesake, it’s such a down to earth story – it’s a thriller that happens to be set in space.

Even though the film shines some quaint nods to 2001: A Space Odyssey and Alien (plus Ridley Scott’s less amazing, Prometheus), these nods are broad and only add a minor substance filler to what is already a piece of art in its own right. Whether the similarities are drawn to the space drifting (“Open the pod bay doors Hal”) or the emphasis on sound and the dread inducing silence of space (“In space, nobody can hear you scream”) – these similarities are mere throwbacks and the true horror and tension is extracted from the story, acting and simply brilliant direction Cuarón took.

I cannot recommend Gravity enough and even though the constant spinning may be nauseating for some (probably much more so in 3D), this is a minor gripe compared to the sheer excellence that will unfold on screen.

★★★★★

To check out film times for the Merlin Cinema in Falmouth go to: www.merlincinemas.co.uk/cinema/1/falmouth-phoenix-cinema.html

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