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    Did I miss a meeting? The meeting that told all of us film reviewers that we weren’t allowed to criticise the performance of Sandra Bullock in any way shape or form because not only is Miss Bullock going to be nominated for an Oscar but she actually might win it for this role. Really? I thought that the Oscars, at least in the main, were about acting.

    (Warning! - Spoilers ahead).

    Don’t get me wrong, there are many elements of Alfonso Cuarón’s film that are excellent; the cinematography was outstanding, never have digital FX looked more realistic, the visual impact of looking at the earth from space was breath-taking, the sense of weightlessness that was created, you’d swear that this film had actually been shot from above the stratosphere. The casting of George Clooney as mission hardened Lieutenant Matt Kowalski was also spot on, he shone like a beacon whenever he was on screen. I also loved the way that the film depicts the astronauts doing their jobs in a naturalistic manner. You could just as easily have been watching a couple of electricians working on a problematic transformer in the local substation. We then get Miss Bullock stage centre, who takes on the role of scientist Ryan Stone and that, for me at least, is when the film starts to falls down.

    There is a lot of tension in this film, especially when the two leads are floating around in space, but this tension is created by the situation they find themselves in and the fantastic cinematography, not by the acting. Once we lose Kowalski after a series of mishaps we are left will Ryan Stone and Space, and Space does a far better job of holding the film together than Ryan Stone. Do we really need to see Miss Bullock spinning around in the foetal position in a weightless environment in vest and knickers? Last time I checked all astronauts wear thermals in Space anyway. Cinematic licence you might say paying homage to Kubrick’s 2001 or to Ripley in Cameron’s Alien? I’m not sure it does either justice, but in the cinema I watched this film in members of the audience actually groaned when this scene unfolded and it wasn’t because they had reached for the Kleenex it was at Hollywood’s seeming obsession at showing A-List movie stars in their skimps.

    After Ryan Stone had managed to board yet another space station that arrived as frequently as the 432 from New Brighton to Liverpool turns up at the top of our road, we get a dream sequence featuring Lieutenant Kowalski, which definitely lifted the film up again. But I got the distinct impression that this segment was added to stop us falling asleep with Dr Stone. Listen, maybe I’m being a little harsh on Miss Bullock and I heartily recommend that you go and see this film as the visuals are second to none, but don’t expect the acting of Miss Bullock to be at the same standard as her last win for The Blind Side as you’ll be hugely disappointed.

      Selby's posts By Selby Strange



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