Stars: James Franco, Clemence Poesy, Kate Mara, Amber Tamblyn
Director: Danny Boyle
Genre: Drama/Biographical Adventure
The trouble with loners is that when they get into trouble, they are usually alone. That's what led to Aron Ralston's bizarre, real life struggle for survival out in the wilds of Utah's Bluejohn Canyon. Dude falls into a deep crevasse...this big-ass boulder tumbles down and pins his arm...can't get it loose...out of food and water after five days stuck like that...he is faced with a literal do or die decision. Everyone knows the story.
The challenge for director Danny Boyle was how to make a compelling, standard length (about an hour and a half) feature film out of this situation. Even before I saw 127 Hours, I knew that he would succeed because, hey--he's DANNY BOYLE! (Slumdog Millionaire, Trainspotting.)
Boyle uses flashbacks interspersed with the present-time mind f*ck Ralston's ordeal is putting him through--from the initial incredulity at his predicament, to the physical struggle to free himself, (whole) to going a little cuckoo and performing for an imaginary audience while his video camera records it as his possible farewell to the world, his family, and anyone who should stumble across his carcass. Meanwhile, we sit there wondering if WE would have the stones--or the stomach--to cut through the natural revulsion we would feel and do what he ultimately did in a last-ditch effort to save himself. The realization that everything that occurred previously in his life had been leading him to this one self-defining moment, was for me the most powerful element of 127 Hours.
The survival instinct must never be underestimated.
James Franco received an academy award nomination for his portrayal of Ralston--a gung-ho guy with too much confidence in himself for his own good--and he deserved it. DAMN-- this kid is a good actor !!!
Indian film composer A. R. Rahman, with two Academy Awards in his pocket from Slumdog Millionaire, again teams up with Danny Boyle--and it's as if Boyle told him: SURPRISE ME ! Given the subject matter, the surprises-- which include a song by Dido--hit with an OOH and an AHH, and brought a smile to my face at how compellingly apropos they were after all.
The gruesome part of 127 Hours is minimal, though you still might want to look away at certain moments, depending on how much of that jumbo size popcorn you've already gobbled. Be thoughtful of those around you and don't bring that up again.