Of course, the film’s impact isn’t the same on home video as it was on, say, a giant Imax screen, but it still provokes jaw-dropping wonder, dizzying vertigo, heart-stopping tension, spine-tingling shocks and visceral fear. Sandra Bullock’s novice astronaut, the film’s desperately imperilled protagonist, has her vital signs being monitored; and that probably wouldn’t be a bad idea for the viewer too.
Bullock’s medical engineer is on her first space mission in the company of George Clooney’s NASA veteran when lethal debris from a Russian satellite destroys their shuttle, stranding them in the abyss of space. Can they find a way back to Earth?
As Cuarón sets off a chain reaction of narrative crises, the ensuing drama is incredibly gripping but stretches credulity further than an astronaut’s tether line. In places, the drama slides dangerously close to mawkishness and Steven Price’s score is often overblown.
Yet these flaws seem trivial when set alongside the film’s astonishing technical and aesthetic achievements. In long seamless takes, Cuarón and his filmmaking crew create sequences of vertiginous excitement and breathtaking beauty – as when the camera passes imperceptibly from the outside of Bullock’s helmet to the inside looking out while she spins perilously in space.
The spectacle is often disorienting but the actors’ performances anchor us, with Bullock’s gutsy resilience and Clooney’s folksy charm giving the film its human touch. Plot contrivances notwithstanding, watching Gravity is an overwhelming experience. Even real astronauts have given it the thumbs up. For the rest of us, this is the closest we’ll ever come to being in space.
Certificate 12. Runtime 88 mins. Director Alfonso Cuarón
Released on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray and DVD on Monday 3rd March by Warner Bros. Home Video. Available on Digital Download from Sunday 2nd March.
Blu-ray special features:
- Collision Point: The Race to Clean Up Space (Narrated by Ed Harris)
- Aningaaq – A short film by Jonás Cuarón
- Play With Introduction
- Gravity: Mission Control
- Shot Breakdowns
- Gravity: Silent Space Version
- Sandra’s Surprise!