Sunday, January 30, 2011

Review: 127 Hours

What could you do in 127 hours? Read a book. Write a short story. Paint a picture. Take a trip somewhere. Watch a lot of movies. The possibilities are almost endless. Well, try fighting for your life at the bottom of a narrow canyon with your arm pinned to the rocky wall by a boulder.

Aron Ralston was an unlucky mountain climber and thrill seeker who had to do exactly this. On April 26, 2003, Aron was hiking in Bluejohn Canyon, Utah when a boulder fell and trapped him at the bottom of the canyon after attempting to use the boulder for leverage. Ralston spent five days chiseling away at the rock as his water supply and hope of survival slowly diminished. In a daring last ditch effort, Ralston amputated his own arm in order to free himself and lived to tell the tale.

If you are upset with me because I just spoiled the ending, don't worry. The brilliance of this movie doesn't come in the form of trying to guess what comes next. No. The brilliance of this movie comes in the form of knowing what's going to happen as the movie slowly builds towards its intense, yet emotionally rewarding, climax.

A movie like this isn't easy to do well. An immobile hero and almost one setting is cause for alarm for almost any filmmaker, but Danny Boyle ins't afraid of a challenge. By combining stylish camerwork that match adrenaline-junkie Aron Ralston's appetite for adventure with a convincing script and James Franco's terrific performance, we get this authentic, emotionally well rounded film.

You might recognize Franco from films such as the recent Spider-Man trilogy or even Seth Rogen's Pineapple Express, but 127 Hours is now his hallmark. Franco's performance is the element that ties this film together. He makes us like Aron Ralston which then makes it easy for us to cheer him on in his time of need. Without a whole lot of dialouge, Franco is still able to communicate volumes about his character without speaking a single word and that is the trademark of a truly talented actor.

This film does get intensely gruesome as we sit there and watch this guy's life go from bad to worse as the boulder falls on his arm and he can't escape. At times it even feels like we're down in the canyon with him as he recalls the greatest things about his life are the things he never truly appreciated and when Ralston finally decides to cut off his own arm, Boyle doesn't let us miss a thing.

Still, 127 Hours is gripping story about engaging life that makes you appreciate everything a whole lot more. Don't let the grim plot and intense sequences stop you from seeing this genuinely wonderful film.

1 comment:

  1. Franco acts his heart and soul out, as Ryan Reynolds did in Buried, a similar one-man agony opera in a confined space. Good review, check out mine when you can!!