Hold your breath at your own peril. The opening scene of Gravity, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival this weekend, is a 17-minute stunner. And if Gravity's long, spectacular takes don't grab you, your movie partner just may, because Gravity is packed with jump-from-your-seat thrills.
The film should be championed by critics and audiences as a stellar union of story and technology, setting a new 3-D standard for the motion picture industry. Sure, Gravity will be a tremendous hit at the box office and you can bet your house on the fact that it will grab every technical Oscar available, but this film is also a bit of a trailblazer. You can forget Avatar; Gravity will be used as people's exhibit No. 1 for the Motion Picture Academy to institute a new Oscar category for Best 3-D film (and my guess is that it will be sooner than later). Of a more immediate note, Sandra Bullock is a lock for a Best Actress nomination. With so much technical wonder, she tethers the film's tension to its soul.
On paper, this movie probably doesn't sound overly compelling: a cast of two (Bullock and George Clooney) in a lost-in-space science fiction. Well, thank goodness movies aren't made on paper. Gravity is dazzling right from the start, and audiences (like the packed-to-the-gills house I sat in Saturday night) will cheer its conclusion. As I stood in the lobby and watched 500-plus people file out of the theater, it wasn't too difficult to read most people's lips: "Wow!"
But in space, no one can hear you cheer.