So, I finally had a chance to catch 127 Hours yesterday, which is of course the film by Academy Award winning directory Danny Boyle that portrays the events that took place when hiker Aron Ralston had his arm pinned beneath a boulder and eventually had to amputate part of it himself in order to escape. Most of you already know the story, and heck, many of you have probably already seen the film, but I’ve been asked for my opinion, and it has taken me a bit of time to get around to seeing it, mostly because I’ve been rather busy of late.
I’ll start off by saying, that I liked the film, but I wasn’t blown away by it. I think that partly comes from knowing the story and the inevitable outcome of the events portrayed in. I will say that James Franco, who places Ralston, does an excellent job with the role, and lives up to the hype going in. Also, Boyle did some interesting and very creative things while making the film that gave you unique perspectives on what what was happen. This includes everything form quick-flash dream like sequences that give us insight into what was going through Ralston’s mind while trapped in that canyon, to the unusual perspective of seeing water, not to mention other stuff, flowing down the tube from a hydration bladder. The filmmaking was top notch and worthy of the director for sure.
Franco’s performance is an impressive one when you consider the fact that he is on screen alone for most of the film. He is a likable guy and his charming personality shines through in the early moments of the film, but as the tension mounts, and he comes to the realization that he is going to die alone, trapped under that rock, his desperation sets in too. I can see why he is getting Oscar buzz for his performance, as his emotions run the gamut, and he does a great job of bringing Ralston alive on screen.
The much talked about scene where the amputation actually takes place is definitely a challenge to watch, but I personally found the segment before hand, when Ralston was forced to break the bones in his arm, more cringe worthy. Boyle does an amazing job of building tension during the scene, and the use of music to build that tension is superb. At the crucial moment that Ralston needs to cut a tendon draws near, the music amps up with a nerve grating sound that helps to hammer home the pain that he is feeling in that moment. It’s tough to describe, but you’ll know it when you hear it.
For me, the true star of the film was the scenery. The amazing Canyonlands setting of Utah looks fantastic in the movie, and the cinematography is top notch throughout. Once again, Boyle does some interesting things to show off the those landscapes, and outdoor enthusiasts will no doubt want to visit the place for themselves. The scenery is so fantastic looking in fact that it is almost worth the price of admission alone.
As I said in the beginning, I liked the film but didn’t love it. It is well crafted and definitely worth seeing, but I came out of it wanting to know more about what followed after the events. We do witness Ralston’s stirring rescue after he escapes the canyon, and we get a brief update about his status before the credits roll, but other than that, it’s all about his struggle to get free, with little to follow. Still, for fans of Ralston’s story, the film is a must see.
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