East versus West | Bangkok Post: lifestyle

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East versus West

Big-budget, big-name US movies or a small-budget, big-hearted Singapore flick? The choice is yours

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The first shot in Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity lasts almost 10 minutes, a long, unbroken take of Sandra Bullock and George Clooney in a gravity-less float, a mix of cosmic tumble and lyrical spacewalk backdropped by the breathtaking, panoramic orb that is Earth and specks of nameless stars. I watched the film on Imax 3D, and the enormous screen enhances so spectacularly the film's visual choreography, especially the depth: space seemed to extend beyond the edge of the screen and the infinite black swathe around Bullock and Clooney reaches further and further back. The 3D trickery has been much heralded, but here's a rare film where the technology is integral to the emotional register of the story. 

Starring Sandra Bullock, George Clooney. Directed by Alfonso Cuaron.

Beautiful and poetic, the image of small humans in fathomless space is also elegiac and eventually frightening. With philosophical brooding, you could go on about how insignificant we all are in the face of such black might, such a great vacuum. But Cuaron _ the director of Y Tu Mama Tambien, Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban and Children Of Men _ isn't hung up on the cosmic wonder of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey (though the Starchild image is obviously a reference). Gravity is a space thriller and a survival tale. Like shipwrecked sailors lost at sea as a storm hits, Bullock and Clooney are soon set adrift in space in a mortal nightmare after the blitz of satellite debris sweeps through them. Their Nasa space station wrecked and all the crew dead, their hope is to make it to the Russian space pod, or further on, the Chinese one, and propel themselves back to Earth.

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