TIFF 2013: Gravity Opens to Huge Cheers, Gasps


Sandra Bullock and George Clooney star in Gravity
  • Sandra Bullock and George Clooney star in Gravity

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.