Film of the week 28 August 2020

This week I am in Space with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney for, Gravity, the 2013 sci-fi thriller from Alphonso Cuaron. A group of astronauts are sent on a Space Shuttle to carry out a service on the Hubble Space Telescope. The commander is veteran Matt Kowalski and on board is Dr Ryan Stone on her first space mission.

While carrying out a space walk, Mission Control warns of a cloud of space debris from a destroyed Russian satellite rapidly approaching them. The result is devastating with the Shuttle damaged and the rest of the crew dead leaving the pair isolated in Space. Their problem is that communication satellites are down, and they must find a way to return to Earth.

I first saw the film in a D-Box cinema where the seats do a rock’n roll act in sync with the action sequences and there are plenty in this white- knuckle Space ride. It is hard to believe that this was all filmed at Pinewood and Shepperton Studios near London with Bullock staying in a giant rig for 10 hours a day. The result is visually stunning, and the shocks really put you on the edge of your seat even watching at home having seen it before. The two stars are at their best with Clooney as cool as ever in the face of a desperate situation and Bullock living a nightmare.

The film won seven Oscars including best direction and six BAFTAS and topped the box office for 2013 making $723 million against a budget of just $100 million with a running time of just 88 minutes. Cuaron went on to make ‘Roma’ that gave him more Oscars, BAFTAS and Golden Globes. It is on the BBC I-Player for the next 24 days and on Amazon Prime.