Directed by Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity follows astronaut Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) as she singlehandedly attempts to make her way to safety after her ship is destroyed. There’s little doubt that Gravity has its work cut out for it in terms of winning over audiences, as the movie’s been saddled with as needless and distracting a use of 3-D as one can easily recall – with the unnecessary extra dimension, coupled with the use of uncomfortable, eye-straining glasses, preventing the viewer from embracing the spare narrative on a distressingly ongoing basis. The arms-length atmosphere is perpetuated by special effects that look like special effects and a screenplay that’s rife with almost eye-rollingly hokey elements, with, in terms of the latter, the less-than-subtle trajectory of Ryan’s character arc muting the emotional impact of the film’s climactic scenes. There’s little doubt, then, that Gravity fares best during its more overtly suspense-oriented sequences, as Cuarón has infused such moments with a tense and frequently engrossing feel that’s impossible to resist. (There is, for example, a gripping interlude detailing Ryan’s efforts at saving a fellow astronaut that stands as a clear highlight within the proceedings.) It’s worth noting, though, that even in its better-than-average stretches, Gravity resembles a cutting-edge video game more than it does a wholeheartedly immersive cinematic experience – which ultimately cements the movie’s place as a technically-impressive yet far-from-captivating piece of work.
**1/2 out of ****