Monday, October 10, 2011

127 hours

By s. Monday, October 10, 2011 , , , , , , ,
(94 min, 2010)
Director: Danny Boyle
Writers: Danny Boyle (screenplay), Simon Beaufoy (screenplay)
Stars: James Franco, Amber Tamblyn and Kate Mara

“One pound of flesh, no more no less. No cartilage, no bone, but only flesh. This task done... and he would go free."

“127 Hours” is the true story of mountain climber Aron Ralston's (played by James Franco) remarkable adventure to save himself after a fallen boulder crashes on his arm and traps him in an isolated canyon in Utah. Over the next five days Ralston examines his life .Throughout his journey, Ralston recalls friends, lovers, family, and the two hikers he met before his accident.

The human being will do anything to survive. It's our primary instinct – to live, to go on. Every single one of us would do anything to keep going. But Aron Ralston actually ended up in a situation where he literally got stuck between rock and the the hard place. He got on a trip one day, without telling anyone where he was going and he got stuck, in the middle of nowhere, with his arm crashed by giant rock. There was no one around, nobody heard his screams for help. He was all alone.

There are two reasons for which “127 Hours” is an extremely powerful movie – first, it forces us to think what would we do in such situation. Aron figures out what may be his only way to live very early, but he waits till last moment to do it. In order to live he will have to abandon part of himself and that will make his life considerably worse, not to mention the excruciating pain that comes along with his final decision. That scene is overwhelming to witness. In my life of movie fan I saw hundreds of gruesome, horrifying scenes but I'm absolutely certain that the rumors of people fainting during that sequence are true. I felt not so much sick as dizzy – the content of the scene and the way it is shot is nauseating and I myself experience vertigo during watching it. It's one of the best scenes of the year, it captures the horror and the gore of the unimaginable situation without tiptoeing around the terrible subject matter. And we watch it in astonishment – how much strength and bravery must one have to do something like that?

The second reason is that what we see on screen actually happened. Aron Ralston filmed a daily video diary while he was stuck in the canyon; the footage has only been shown to close friends and family Before shooting began both James Franco and director Danny Boyle were allowed to view the footage in order to accurately portray the events in the movie. Everything we see – the hallucinations, Ralston drinking his own urine etc. did happen. It's shocking because what we see isn't some made believe tale about adventurer – it's real life. Both Boyle and Franco show a lot of humiliating things, shown through the light of courage and determination of the climber. We see his mind, we see his tormented body, stripped off all the Hollywood glory. This is somebody who will die unless he makes his sacrifice. There are no helicopters flying to rescue him, no hikers looking for him. Every single attempt he makes to hoist the rock fails, his water supply is disappearing drop by drop. Yet he keeps on fighting and he doesn't even consider surrender.

James Franco is fantastic in this performance and the only moment when we are aware we are not watching real person is when Ralston makes an appearance in the very end of the film. Franco's job was particularly hard because he essentially is the one person that truly matters in the movie – 90% of the time we watch him reasoning with himself, laughing at himself, falling into despair. He shows incredible range of emotions and skills in this movie and if it wasn't Firth's time he would surely win the highest honors for his performance.

The technical side of the movie resembles Danny Boyle's previous picture “Slumdog Millionaire” in the same usage of fast editing and extremely deep, bright colors. The cinematography is gorgeous and very creative, however sometimes it takes the edge off the story and cheapens it. All those pretty colors don't go well with the brutal scenes we see, blood gushing out of wound and human being dying away. Another flaw is that the movie's pace is uneven and sometimes the films drags a little. Especially in the middle, set between dynamic beginning and powerful ending the movie loses viewer's interest.

Nonetheless, “127 hours” is a fine example of great film making and fantastic acting and a beautiful portrayal of the strength of human spirit. This all makes the movie one of the best ones of the last year. And remember – always tell people were you are going.


1 comment:

  1. great review and i completely agree with you about the quirky direction not quite fitting the situation, i felt like i was constantly being taken out of the moment. Still a great film though. My thoughts if you're interested