(Just a single rule: mix-tape-style, no more than one film per director. You know, because otherwise the whole thing would be pointless.)
Science Fiction • dir. Alfonso Cuarón • 2013 • USA/UK
There’s a great moment in In the Shadow of the Moon, a documentary about the handful of men who’ve walked on the moon, in which a talking head astronaut sticks his arm out and his thumb up for the camera. Up in space, he says, planet earth got to be so far away he could ‘hide’ every bit of it behind his thumb. Then, of course, more recently there’s Felix Baumgartner, the Austrian who travelled 24 miles up, in a one-person capsule, with the sole aim of returning via parachute. Who can ever forget the fraught moments before he jumped – a camera above his head pointing ominously down? Stargazing from the ground is one thing. Stargazing from space… well, in the entire course of human history, you couldn’t fill a modest movie theatre with all the people brave and lucky enough to do that.
Only, I spent an hour-and-a-half in space last October. And chances are, so did you. Gravity really is that good. Believe the hype. Embrace it: Alfonso Cuarón and his merry band of nerds – who became a procession of Oscar winners, all graciously thanking one another – threw millions of paying punters into the great beyond. It’s filmmaking at its most sensational; a reminder, if ever we needed it, that cinema can rouse and rattle us like few other things. Anyone who walks away from Gravity carping about the slightness of its plot, the thinness of its characters, or the occasional egginess of its dialogue, couldn’t possibly be missing the point any more substantially. If so thrilling a movie doesn’t leave you breathless, stop sucking on your thumb already and open up your eyes.