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Review: ‘Gravity’ keeps viewers on edge of seats, sends emotions into orbit

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Sandra Bullock (left) and George Clooney in a scene from 'Gravity,' which is set to hit theaters Oct. 4.  Credit: Courtesy of Gofobo

Sandra Bullock (left) and George Clooney in a scene from ‘Gravity,’ which is set to hit theaters Oct. 4.
Credit: Courtesy of Gofobo

Starting off the fall film season, “Gravity” shows that being adrift through space is no cake walk, but is a dangerous and scary spacewalk.

“Gravity” is a sci-fi and thriller experience that will have viewers on the edge of their seats and holding their breath, coming to the silver screen from “Children of Men” writer and director Alfonso Cuarón.

Sandra Bullock stars as Ryan Stone, a medical engineer who is taking a spacewalk with veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski, played by George Clooney, along with the crew members of space shuttle Explorer. After space debris hits the crew and the ship, Stone and Kowalski are left adrift, using their wits and training skills to return back to Earth.

At the beginning of the film, Stone is reserved in her emotions, revealing her daughter had died and she didn’t have a strong desire to return to Earth. Stone, being a novice in space, seems unprepared for the task at hand, and has to rely on Kowalski for help. After an incident, she is left alone to figure out how to return home herself. When she is about to give up, she experiences a revelation in a scene with Kowalski, causing her to rise out of the ashes as a new person who wants to make it back home and carry on with her life.

In the short amount of time you spend with the characters, Bullock and Clooney’s performances and chemistry onscreen make it seem as if you have known them for years. Clooney’s charming, yet collected nature in intense situations complements Bullock’s fears and anxiety in space, which makes you fear for the characters’ safety.

The movie centers around how Stone moves and feels. Simply enough, Stone’s breathing plays a role in the film. Her emotional state, as well as how much oxygen she has left, is conveyed by how hard and rapidly she breathes throughout her ordeals.

This film is meant to be experienced in 3-D. The special effects and visuals successfully use 3-D effects to immerse the audience in the story. To add to the intensity of the situation, the audience is able to see through Stone’s point of view at certain points. During one scene in particular, Stone is losing oxygen. As she tells Kowalski this information, we are able to see the display in her helmet, a bar indicating the percent amount of oxygen she has left. The intensity increases when these levels begin to drop and the two characters are nowhere close to safety.

Sound design also plays a big role in immersion in the film. In certain scenes in the film where Stone feels or experiences turbulence, the sound effects are loud enough to shake the theater seat, almost making it feel as if you’re sharing the same experience.

Sending your emotions into its own orbit, “Gravity” is more than just a space film, but an immersing journey of overcoming the impossible.

“Gravity” is set to release in theaters Friday.

Grade: A

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