127 Hours (Danny Boyle) 2010

127 is about Aron Ralston (James Franco) who spends a weekend climbing in Utah. He gets his hand trapped against a canyon wall with a boulder and has to do whatever he can to survive.

It is a challenge to make a movie where a guy is stuck in one place for 127 hours seem exciting. Sure, this was a harrowing and traumatic time in this man’s life. There is no way to ever know the true depth of what this man really went through. However that doesn’t necessarily translate to compelling cinema. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is kind of the standard of how to do a movie like this where it is a clinic of camera tricks. Danny Boyle is certainly up to the task. While Aron may be trapped in a canyon for days, the camera barely rests for a second. We go into illusions, recollections, asides, and whatever else to keep the narrative moving. There is also a nice attention to detail and we realize the gravity of everything Aron goes through. A scene that had a large amount of tension is when Aron drops his leatherman and has to retrieve it by picking it up with a stick in between his toes. If it were to drop any further, any chance of him doing anything to escape would be near impossible.

During the movie we learn about Aron and his relationships. Certainly when you are stuck in a location with the good possibility of death you will reflect on your life. These scenes are very interesting and add depth to his character. James Franco personally carries this movie. I have to admit, early in his career I thought James Franco was a wooden actor. Now with this and Pineapple Express, I see it wasn’t Franco being wooden but more him being cast in very bad roles. He has a natural charisma and is easily likable. It could be easy to dismiss Aron as making a stupid mistake, but the script is great in how we care for him. There is a great scene where he bashes himself for being a rescue worker (specializing in mountain rescue) and was dumb enough not to tell anyone where he is going.

This was an intense movie and I really enjoyed it. I don’t think this would make my top 10 of the year (or 15, haven’t really thought about it) but this is still a great movie. Boyle does a great job in taking a difficult story and making it accessible to just about anyone. I recommend it.

 

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One Response to “127 Hours (Danny Boyle) 2010”

  1. Chris "TrangleC" K. Says:

    Interesting. Thanks for bringing this movie to my attention. I like such “lost and facing death in nature” material. I even liked “Gerry”, which Brad Jones considers one of the worst movies of the last decade, or was it even THE worst one on his list?

    I also enjoyed Stephen Kings novel “The Game” in which a woman is handcuffed to a bed in an lonely cottage somewhere in the woods after her husband – the only other human being around – dies of a heart attack during a kinky sex game.

    Or Kings other novel “The girl who loved Tom Gordon”, in which a young girl gets lost in the woods.

    Perhaps “Gerry” is a badly executed movie, i don’t know and i never was good in judging that, but i think Brad Jones bashes it for the wrong reasons because he seems to think that a story like that can never be interesting and he searches in vain for something the sand in the desert symbolizes instead of just taking it for what it is, a story about somebody who drops out of his normal life and environment and faces death by starvation or exposure in a strange and hazardous place and how he, she or they deal with it.
    I think that is interesting in itself.

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