GRAVITY is a simple, well acted, very powerful story about an astronaut's struggle to survive after a disastrous accident in outer space.
But director Alfonso Cuaron increases the intensity of the gripping story with some of the most dazzling 3-D cinematography I've ever seen.
When the movie was over, I felt wrung out but also exhilarated and grateful to be alive.
George Clooney is Matt Kowalski, a veteran astronaut working with Sandra Bullock as Ryan Stone, a medical engineer who's uneasy about being in space. They are working outside their shuttle in space suits.
Matt: Beautiful, don't you think?
Looney: The sunrise. Terrific.
The beauty around them is spectacular, but the relative tranquility doesn't last long.
Voice of Ed Harris: Explorer, this is Houston.
Ryan: Go ahead, Houston.
Houston: Mission abort. Repeat; mission abort.
Matt: Houston, this is Explorer, confirming visual contact with debris.
Debris from an exploded satellite is crashing into them at high speed. Communication with Houston is lost and the force of the debris knocks Ryan right off the shuttle still tethered to a long metal arm that she'd been working on.
Matt (into his radio): Astronaut is off structure. Dr. Stone is off structure. Dr. Stone, detach. You must detach. If you don't detach, that arm is going to carry you too far.
It's a terrifying scene made all the more graphic by the amazing 3-D cinematography. And it's only the beginning of a desperate struggle for survival.
Ryan: I can't breathe.
Matt: You have to sip not gulp your oxygen.
GRAVITY puts us through a virtual near-death experience as Bullock's character is forced to accept the fact that she's likely to die very soon. She talks to herself; she hallucinates; and she alternates between giving up and trying some new emergency tactic.
Ryan: Houston, this is mission specialist Ryan stone. I am off structure and I am drifting. Do you copy? (There is no response.)
Bullock will likely earn an Oscar nomination for her tour de force performance in this outstanding film.
The impact of GRAVITY is almost impossible to describe in words. It's a visceral experience no movie lover should miss.
Terry Hunter, Hawaii News Now. firstname.lastname@example.org