"In a film that is centred around one man trapped in a cave in the dessert under a bolder, Danny Boyle manages to make water dripping out of a straw a white knuckle ride."
127 Hours is as painful to watch as it is downright thrilling. Every minute of Danny Boyle's cinematography is an adventure in its own right, in a world where the whole film is centred around one man trapped in a cave in the dessert under a bolder, Danny Boyle manages to make water dripping out of a straw a white knuckle ride.
127 Hours is the unbelievable true story of one young mans passion for the unknown, boundless adventure, and pushing himself to the limit, until it almost kills him. James Franco plays real life climber Aron Ralston, who lives life on the edge, barely making time for family anymore and arrogantly setting out into the vast Blue John Canyon without telling a soul where he is going. This is his first and almost last mistake. The pace of the film starts out adventurously enough, no foreboding sense of doom, or intense drama to lead us to the inevitable disaster that awaits Aron. He's just happy mountain biking along at 100 mph down the canyon to his favourite adventure man play list, slurping out of his water bottle, and befriending pretty, lost back packers. In fact the beginning part of the film feels more like The Beach, than any disaster film. Yet I think that is Danny Boyle's highly accurate intention, to revel in the free spirit and arrogance of youth, just like he did in The Beach, rather than drown us in despair.
However this film stops being like one of those promotional BMX'ing adventure films you see played in the background in skate shops, about the time Aron climbs enthusiastically, all gully ho, down a small part of the canyon, looses his footing, and falls, along with a rather large boulder, that promptly wedges him, or rather his arm, in between two canyon walls. And when I say wedged, I mean stuck, well and truly. For those of you wondering how a boulder can trap your arm in a canyon you are not alone. James Franco portrays the same reaction, staring in almost comical horror and disbelief at this very sudden twist of fate, one minute he's hopping over canyons like Indiana Jones, the next he's well and truly stuck by a stupid, small boulder. Game Over.
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Yet its not game over, and James Franco takes us on an amazing journey through the various stages of denial, horror, sadness, grief, acceptance and then right when you think he's had it, pulls through with what could be described as one of the most horrifically brave fights for survival ever committed to camera. Using real footage from Aron's camera,on which he recorded his ordeal Boyle and Franco were able to build a picture of man who had accepted his own fate, along with goodbye messages to his family. This is the film's turning point for me, where Aron realises the foolishness of not telling anyone where he is going, and how he's sorry for not calling his Mum more. He thinks about his ex girlfriend, his sister's wedding, his childhood, and has thoughts of one day having a child himself. Most of all, despite the hopelessness of the situation, Aron wants to live, and ultimately its the love of his family that pulls him through.
Aside from Aron's moving spiritual journey, 127 Hours is one of the most gory, not for the faint hearted film's I've ever seen, like watching a surgical procedure that you didn't sign up for, how Aron survived his ordeal is mind blowing, because watching it on screen is one of the hardest things I've had to watch in a long time.
127 Hours is out in UK Cinemas 7th January 2011