The first reviews of Alfonso Cuaron’s sci-fi thriller Gravity are in and they’re overwhelmingly positive. Todd McCarthy from The Hollywood Reporter calls it “the most realistic and beautifully choreographed film ever set in space,” while Guy Lodge at HitFix said it was a “film both short and vast, muscular and quivery, as certain about one Great Beyond as it is curious about another.” Check out all of the reactions after the jump! I could not be more excited to see this one at TIFF in September. The film centers on an astronaut who attempts to make her way back to Earth after a satellite crash sets off a chain reaction of further crashes. Gravity opens on October 4th.
Sandra Bullock plays Dr. Ryan Stone, a brilliant medical engineer on her first shuttle mission, with veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky (George Clooney) in command of his last flight before retiring. But on a seemingly routine spacewalk, disaster strikes. The shuttle is destroyed, leaving Stone and Kowalsky completely alone–tethered to nothing but each other and spiraling out into the blackness. The deafening silence tells them they have lost any link to Earth…and any chance for rescue. As fear turns to panic, every gulp of air eats away at what little oxygen is left. But the only way home may be to go further out into the terrifying expanse of space.
The Hollywood Reporter: At once the most realistic and beautifully choreographed film ever set in space, Gravity is a thrillingly realized survival story spiked with interludes of breath-catching tension and startling surprise. Not at all a science fiction film in the conventional sense, Alfonso Cuaron’s first feature in seven years has no aliens, space ship battles or dystopian societies, just the intimate spectacle of a man and a woman trying to cope in the most hostile possible environment across a very tight 90 minutes.
Variety: Suspending viewers alongside Bullock for a taut, transporting 91 minutes (with George Clooney in a sly supporting turn), the director’s long-overdue follow-up to “Children of Men” is at once a nervy experiment in blockbuster minimalism and a film of robust movie-movie thrills, restoring a sense of wonder, terror and possibility to the bigscreen that should inspire awe among critics and audiences worldwide.
Guardian: It comes blowing in from the ether like some weightless black nightmare, hanging planet Earth at crazy angles behind the action. Like Tarkovsky’s Solaris (later remade by Clooney and director Steven Soderbergh), the film thrums with an ongoing existential dread. And yet, tellingly, Cuaron’s film contains a top-note of compassion that strays at times towards outright sentimentality.
Hit Fix: There’s a note of bombast to the finale that feels hard-earned after the staggering physical trials of what has gone before, and I do mean staggering: “Gravity” is a film both short and vast, muscular and quivery, as certain about one Great Beyond as it is curious about another.
IndieWire: It’s visceral, knuckle-chewingly tense stuff, with Cuaron and his co-writer and son Jonas expertly packing obstacle packed on top of obstacle in the way of the astronauts’ return home, without losing touch of humanity or humor.“Gravity” is about as visceral an experience as you can have in a cinema, it’s a technical marvel, and it’s a blockbuster with heart and soul in spades. It’s about the best opening to a film festival that you could ask for. [A]
Standard: The film’s raison d’etre is its considerable technical prowess, enhanced by 3D but in a determinedly ungimmicky way. Here the work of cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki is first class, so what you see is spectacular even if what you hear is less so. Will the film succeed with the public after all its travails in the making? Perhaps, but this is a lean plot with only two characters, and it never grips quite as well as it might once you get used to the grim silence of outer space.
HeyUGuys: Clooney is perfect as this affable, self-deprecating and ultimately sincere man, a role he’s played in various guises in the past. Bullock also excels as the nervous and vulnerable scientist who is led towards independence and self confidence by her more experienced partner. Again, this is not entirely new territory for Bullock, who has often juggled fragility with feistiness in previous roles.
CineVue: Gravity does occasionally falter when it strays towards the seemingly obligatory ‘bigger’ questions of religion and philosophical meaning. The beauty of what we see and the obvious, indifferent hostility of that same environment perhaps undermines some of the more hokey nods to spirituality that the scriptwriters – Cuarón and son Jonás – struggle to include. Their strong suit is undoubtedly aesthetics and suspense. With the aid of Emmanuel Lubezki’s stunning cinematography and British composer Steven Price’s thundering soundtrack, Cuarón has produced a spectacular sci-fi which doesn’t forget its wit, its intelligence nor its heart.
ScreenDaily: A genuinely tense and exciting lost-in-space thriller, Alfonso Cuaron’s exhilarating and often spectacular 3-D film is a real pleasure, driven by top-notch lead performance from Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as well as some seriously cool special effects. Despite some lapses into sentimentality, Gravity sustains its simple concept and turns out to be a real audience pleaser as well as a shrewd choice for opening night film for the Venice Film Festival, where it has its premiere.