With Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, the voice of Ed Harris

Written by Alfonso Cuarón & Jonás Cuarón
Directed by Alfonso Cuarón

Walking off with many awards including 7 Oscars, this engrossing film is a survival drama in outer space, not exactly science-fiction – but the horror of the situation is all too probable.

Dr. Stone (Bullock), an engineer on her very first shuttle mission, is on a repair space walk (two other crew members also outside incl. Kowalski, played by Clooney). Space debris shreds their shuttle and sends her hurtling into the abyss. Saved by Kowalski, as the only survivors they try to make their way to a Russian station in time as their oxygen depletes, with many more perils and obstacles to overcome in the hope of making it back to earth beyond that.

The tension and breathless moments are calculated and perfectly timed to successfully keep the audience gasping and on the edge of their seat.

The technical execution is amazing and at times awe-inspiring, from the weightless effect and the disaster sequences, to the view of earth from outer space.
Apart from the visual spectacle, there is a deeply human tale at play, looking at survival beyond grief and human determination beyond science.

For all of its highs, there are some elements of the script that bugged me, like the over-exaggerated “whoop-whoop” space cowboy personality of the one disposable character, and forced personal plot exposition in the shape of questions and conversations between Stone and Kowalski one feels would've been asked before leading up to them dangling between earth and the universe – but that's just me.

The Blu-ray release contains both the regular and 3D versions, plus around 3 hours worth of engrossing extra features, including the intensive labour that went into making this a believable experience, from cast to crew.
(By the way, in the late-'90s I had an idea identical to this for a short film, dammit! But had I made it, I'd dread to think how it would match up to this one with 15 years of CGI advances and 200 million more in budget...!)

6 / B
- Paul Blom

0 1 2 3 4 5 6
- A
- B - C

For the mother of all seious outer space movies, check out Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey and its sequel 2010

2001 2010  

never let a review decide for you, but for those who need a rating, see the Flamedrop scale below
6 - Volcanic
5 - Blistering
4 - Hot
3 - Smolder
2 - Room Temperature
1 - Fizzled
0 - Extinguished

A: Multi-Viewing Potential

B: Could Enjoy A 2nd Look

C: Once Should Suffice

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