Originally Posted by Aliens
The "controversial" scene.
I'll offer an explanation...
Initially, I thought the scene questions plausibility, too, but
I imagine it is possible
that the circular velocity of the space station was deviating from constant. Normally, it would be maintaining constant velocity so it could maintain orbit. However, this is a movie where things have gone awry, to be sure.Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
If the space station is in slight deceleration,
then that would be the impetus for a constant force occurring in the line. Why would it be decelerating? Given the situation, it's not hard to imagine that things have malfunctioned onboard (which we see further indication of, once Ryan gets inside). Maybe the orbit is in terminal decay at that point? I'll grant though, that would then create a similar problem for Ryan to reel herself in on that line and get to the hatch (in brief enough time, with the O2 she had left)...so maybe they both should have died?
So imagine it this way...it's not that the astronaut dude (Clooney) is floating away from the space station over time. The astronaut dude is just going at nominal orbital velocity, and the space station is floating away with lagging velocity and slight deceleration? Remember, we are talking about a baseline of 26,000 mph, so there is plenty of range for velocity shift to occur, even though it "appears" everybody is just floating "still" in space (reality being, everybody is actually just traveling at the same 26,000-ish mph).
The space station could just as well be in slight acceleration at that particular (unfortunate) moment, too, as the rockets are "trying" to restore nominal orbit velocity. Naturally, all of this should have impacted the depiction of "weightless" while inside the space station (depending on what direction you are trying to go), but I'm sure that would have further confused audiences, if they bothered to stay faithful to that effect.