Like ghost stories and horror fiction, sci-fi is one of the genres I enjoy dipping into from time to time. I have published one futuristic short story, for an anthology co-edited by Maxim Jakubowski, but I certainly wouldn't describe myself as a sci-fi expert. But I was recommended to watch the new Sandra Bullock film Gravity, and I'm very glad I did.
The first thing to say about this movie is that it's the first I've ever watched in the cinema with 3D glasses, and I don't think there' s any doubt that this film, more than any other I know, benefits from being watched in 3D. The visual effects are absolutely stunning - the debris flying through space, for instance, seems to be heading right for the audience. This is not just a gimmick - it's very involving.
Sandra Bullock plays Ryan Stone, a scientist with an unhappy past, who is at work out in space with an affable colleague played by George Clooney. All is going well until news comes from Houston of an accident in space that may complicate life for the astronauts. So it proves. Soon Bullock and Clooney are the only survivors of the mission, and face a desperate race against time if they are to survive.
Sandra Bullock has a very engaging personality, but more than that, she is a terrific actor, and I doubt if she's ever performed better than in this role, which must have been very demanding. I was expecting the action in space to be inter-cut with scenes in Houston as the tension mounts. Apparently, the studio expected this too, but director Alfonso Cuaron resisted the pressure. This was an excellent judgment - the result is a very strong piece of work that benefits (as so many films, like books, do benefit) from being fairly short. I very much enjoyed Gravity. Watch it in the cinema, though, if you possibly can.