Not since Pitch Black have I sat in a movie that drove forward so relentlessly and kept me on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next. And not since Avatar (horrible movie, but great tech) have I seen 3D so beautifully integrated and necessary to a story.

Everything you’ve heard about this movie is probably true. It is emotionally satisfying, beautifully filmed, and expertly acted. Bullock (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close) and Clooney (The Descendants) give you the calmest sense of dread and wonder you will ever experience. You will instantly identify and connect with them and their situation emotionally… and you may cancel that Virgin Galactic ticket you had on hold by the end of it all.

I have admired writer/director Cuarón’s (Y Tu Mama Tambien) work for a while now. He had particularly caught my attention with his brilliant and brave adaptation of Children of Men, despite the overly academic extras that ended up on the disc. Gravity was made for him. It is visually unique, and emotionally unafraid while remaining great storytelling. It has reset the bar for 3D and given us one of the best science fiction films in years, and one of the few present day science fiction films in decades that didn’t involve plagues. Do not be fooled, it is science fiction; without the science it could not exist.

There are a lot of inside nods (Bullock’s number patch is 42, and Ed Harris is the voice of Command, for instance) and there are some heavy handed visuals that may or may not have purposefully mirrored other cinema, but none are intrusive and all are earned. And, on a personal note, this movie proves the value and need of good documentation.

I won’t say more because you just must go see this film in 3D (IMAX if possible–it is worth it). It is films like this that give me hope that we’re almost past the big f/x=great story movement that cheaper CGI ushered in years ago. Story always trumps f/x in weighing the value of a film. In this case, it is the perfect marriage of both, and it left me breathless.

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