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Gravity film review *****

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Space has never looked more frightening - or more beautiful than in director Alfonso Cuaron’s 3D cosmic adventure ‘Gravity,’ in which Sandra Bullock and George Clooney play astronauts who find themselves at the mercy of an environment that the opening caption warns us is uninhabitable.
Bullock plays Dr Ryan Stone, a brilliant medical engineer on her first shuttle mission with veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky (Clooney). They are carrying out what is meant to be a ‘routine’ spacewalk when disaster strikes and Stone is literally set adrift following an explosion of space debris which blows up their shuttle and cuts off all contact with Houston.
The sense of loneliness and fear is palpable as Stone floats in this utterly alien environment, her sense of aloneness made all the more heart-rending when we learn that her daughter is dead and there is no-one back on Earth to grieve for her, should the worst happen.
There is huge relief when Kowalski manages to moor her to his suit but with Stone’s oxygen running out rapidly and more explosions of space debris expected, things aren’t looking good for the pair. Will they both survive, only one or neither?
It’s impossible not to get caught up in the tension and anxiety of their predicament, though if you’re going to get lost in space I can’t think of a better companion to have along than Clooney’s calm and reassuring Kowalsky.
Tense though the plot is, everything takes second place to the special effects - surely 3D has never been used to better effect - which vividly capture the sheer awesomeness of space. Its strangeness and its beauty are bewitching but it is perhaps its silence that resonates most.

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