COMMANDER Matt Kowalski (George Clooney), a veteran of the space program on his final mission with the Space Shuttle Explorer, provides encouragement to fellow astronaut Shariff (Phaldut Sharma) and specialist Dr Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock), who is in space for the first time.

Out of the blue, Mission Control (voiced by Ed Harris) orders Kowalski to abort the mission and return to Explorer: a Russian missile strike on a defunct satellite has created a debris cloud that is heading straight towards the crew's current position.

Razor-sharp debris rips through the craft, killing Shariff and hurtling Stone through space. If Kowalski cannot locate her before her dwindling oxygen supply runs out, silence will consume Stone forever.

Scripted by director Alfonso Cuaron and his son Jonas, Gravity is a lean, nerve-shredding thriller about one woman battling against the odds in the one place that no one can hear her whimper and scream.

Bullock delivers a compelling lead performance in a film that bagged seven Oscars this week.