We review this week’s cinema releases, including Alfonso Cuar
Directed by Alfonso Cuaron. Starring George Clooney, Sandra Bullock, Ed Harris, Orto Ignatiussen. Phaldut Sharma, Amy Warren.
THE PLOT: As fellow astronauts Matt Kowalski (Clooney) and Ryan Stone (Bullock) find themselves very much lost in space after their space shuttle ends up battered and crippled by space debris. How to make it back to earth before their oxygen runs out is the simple but quickly terrifying task ahead. There are no scary space monsters or super alien freaks – just that great big nothing, forever waiting, patiently, to suck you into oblivion.
THE VERDICT: It’s heartening to think that a great director with a great script can overcome many an obstacle to make a great film, and still manage to pull in over $400m box-office on a $100m movie in just four weeks. That you soon get lost in this stunning moonage daydream is testament to the simple, classic filmmaking that we’re dealing with here. Despite the inevitable 3D shenanigans that space invites, Gravity works because of Cuaron’s elegant and electric direction, and the script he co-wrote with his son, Jonas, plus a little help from the boy George. It’s a story about survival in extreme conditions, and outer space, when shot as majestically as this, kinda has the edge over snow-capped mountains and the deep blue sea. Out of this world.
Review by Paul Byrne
FOR THOSE IN PERIL 93mins (UK/IFI+/92mins)
Directed by Paul Wright. Starring George MacKay, Kate Dickie, Michael Smiley, Nichola Burley, Brian McCardie, Jordan Young, Conor McCarron.
THE PLOT: Having survived a fishing accident with no memories and no other crew members is proving quite difficult for Scottish fisherman Aaron (MacKay). Especially given that the rest of the village are suspicious as to how he was the only survivor. Any effort by his mother (Dickie) to ease his troubled minds doesn’t seem to work, especially as Aaron is convinced his brother Michael (Young) also survived, and is out there somewhere. Apocalyptic visions, and growing hatred amongst the villagers, lead Aaron down a very bleak path…
THE VERDICT: This fine debut feature may have more atmosphere than tangible drama, but then, it is supposed to be about a man drowning not waving. Edited by old Danish hand Anders Refn (father of DRIVE director Nicolas Winding Refn), For Those In Peril has an ethereal quality which sometimes threatens to sink what little storyline there is, but the sense of life being nothing but a bad dream, as Aaron merrily, merrily, merrily loses his mind, is strongly felt. So, a mood piece then. Akin to having your head held under some very inviting waters.
Review by Paul Byrne