Gravity delivers two strong acting performances and captures the realities of space

Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Courtesy of Warner Bros.

Gravity is, quite simply, out of this world.

High above Earth, medical engineer Dr. Ryan Stone, played by Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side) and astronaut Matt Kowalski, played by George Clooney (Oceans Eleven), fight to survive after debris from destroyed orbiting satellites leave them adrift in space.

Tethered together and cut off from Houston’s mission control on Earth, the two race to find a way home.

The chemistry between Bullock and Clooney is solid. Clooney plays a charismatic space veteran, while Bullock plays a quiet and withdrawn doctor.

At the beginning of the film, unlike Kowalski, Stone is difficult to like, but as the movie continues she becomes relatable and the viewer can’t help but cheer her on.

Bullock and Clooney mastered the slow movements of weightlessness in space, which added to the film’s authenticity.

At times, the movie felt like Cast Away in space, which, by the way, isn’t bad at all. Cast Away was a master class on how a movie can rely primarily on a single actor.

However, unlike Tom Hanks’ somewhat wordless drama, there was a lot of dialogue in Gravity.

Bullock’s performance is exceptional enough for an Oscar nomination.

The film’s 90-minute run time was perfect.

Recently, movies tend to run somewhat long, going beyond the two-hour mark, but Gravity didn’t fall prey to this common misstep.

If it ran any longer, the action would have become drawn out and tedious.

Writer and director Alfonso Cuarón employs the same long-shot technique he used for the famous 10-minute continuous shot in the sci-fi movie Children of Men.

The first 15 minutes of Gravity is one continuous shot where the camera swirls, twirls and glides from one angle to another.

It’s an absolutely remarkable piece of directing.

Many space films, if not all, inaccurately portray realities of soundless intergalactic life. There is no sound in space and Cuarón takes full advantage of the silence.

Instead of using the blast sounds, intense music plays in the background that simulates the same feeling of an explosion.

Also, at times, the only sound is the heavy and labored breathing of the space travelers. It’s eerie.

There was nothing new or revolutionary about the plot, but the directing and cinematography alone carries the film.

Essentially, Gravity becomes a character study about human survival.

Instead of using another human character as the source of conflict, Stone’s battle was against the harsh conditions of space.

The infinite vastness of space becomes frightening, unrelenting and unforgiving with the fluctuating temperature and absence of oxygen.

This isn’t a movie for the faint of heart.

The film’s action sequences puts the viewer in space along with the characters.

Most of the film goes from one action sequence to the next. It’s a rare thriller that creates genuine anxiety for moviegoers.

Ever since 2009’s Avatar, 3-D has been the popular movie-going experience and an easy way for a studio to make a profit.

But it has become a crap shoot.

Some pieces look fine in 3-D, but others fail miserably. By far this is the best use of the technology to date.

Don’t wait until Gravity is released on Blu-ray or DVD to watch it.

It’s the type of movie that demands to be seen in theaters on a large screen. Spend the extra money and see it in 3-D. It’s well worth it.

Gravity’s nonstop thrill ride, that has the makings of a real-life nightmare, is one that does everything right from the visuals to the acting.

About Ashley Binion