Director : Danny Boyle
Writers : Danny Boyle, Simon Beaufoy (screenplay), Aron Ralston (autobiography)
With: James Franco
In 2003 Aron Ralston went rock-climbing through
canyon country and didn’t tell anybody where he was going - a decision he soon came to regret after he fell down a canyon and found himself with one arm pinned between an 800 pounds boulder and the canyon wall. He remained trapped like that for over 5 days, and this movie tells his real story. Utah
“127 Hours” is very much a one man show. All the other characters appear for the briefest amounts of time and are only there to tell us more things about Aron. The film starts with him getting ready for one of his trips. He is willing and excited. He takes a quick shower, packs his tools and some food in haste while ignoring his mother's call – no time for a silly thing like that. He rushes his bike carelessly towards the hiking destination and we can see that rock-climbing is not just a hobby for him, it is his greatest passion. He caresses the rocks as if they are the body of a lover. He is truly and utterly happy. And then, it happens.
Aron is played by James Franco, who doesn’t allow us to remember that he is an actor playing a part: we do not see James Franco at any time throughout the movie, we only see Aron, a cocky and self-assured adventurer, whose arrogance would be borderline annoying if it wasn’t so typical of being young and bold. He's quite an adrenaline junkie with a taste for taking risks and he’s about to pay the price for it. But he is not an amateur. In an early scene when he offers his “tour guide” services to two young women hikers, we can see that he is experienced and much familiarized with the surroundings. He obviously knows what he’s doing. But he is not cautious and, after a split second of recklessness, we see him tumbling down a deep, narrow canyon, with a boulder following him down and ending up trapping his arm as we hear him screams a low-pitched "Aagghhh!!", not only because he's in pain but also because he is angry. This cannot happen to HIM! But yet, it does.
The rest of the movie deals with Aron trying to survive and trying to escape. We realize that in spite of his lack of caution, he is legitimately logical and calculated. He portions down the little food supply and water he has, as he estimates how long he can stay alive. He knows nobody will be looking for him; he has to get out of this himself, or die in that canyon.
I will not spoil the movie for you and I strongly recommend that you do NOT read anything about Aron Ralston prior to seeing “127 Hours”. I didn’t either, and not knowing what will happen to him is a big factor in experiencing this film for what it is. I was cringing and sweating and at one particular scene I didn’t know what to cover first: my eyes or my ears, but resisted to doing either.
Everything in this movie works. The various camera angles, the occasional split screen, the flashbacks, the hallucinations, Aron’s dialogues with himself as the film progresses and he becomes more and more humbled in understanding how faulty his arrogance was and what a huge mistake he made. The cinematography is rich and gorgeous, showing the wilderness of Utah canyon land in its full splendor, lingering on the beauty of Aron’s prison - with the 15 minutes of sunlight every morning, the blue sky above it and a raven flying by it in slow motion to emphases one word, the most important word for Aron during these five long days: freedom.
Danny Boyle’s achievement in directing “127 Hours” deserves bows. It is a hard movie to watch and an almost impossible movie to make, with one actor and one location carrying 95% of the film. In one and a half hours you will be exposed to five days of struggle; rooting for a man with a crushed arm and a broken ego as he fights for his life while trying to hold on to his sanity. You will not forget the experience.
“You know, I've been thinking. Everything is... just comes together. It's me. I chose this. I chose all this. This rock... this rock has been waiting for me my entire life. It's entire life, ever since it was a bit of meteorite a million, billion years ago. In space. It's been waiting, to come here. Right, right here. I've been moving towards it my entire life. The minute I was born, every breath that I've taken, every action has been leading me to this crack on the out surface.”
My overall rating : 8.6 / 10
Rating per categories, 10 being maximum of points and 1 being minimum :
Directing : 9
Script : 8.5
Plot and Storyline : 8
Cinematography and visuals: 8.5
Characters and acting : 9