I finally saw 127 Hours. The movie tells the true story of Aron Ralston, an outdoorsy type, drink life to the lees man’s man who foolishly goes hiking in the desert without telling anybody … and gets his arm wedged in a boulder. The rest of the film chronicles Ralston’s survival against impossible odds over the agonizingly long period of time referred to in the film’s title.
This movie was definitely a cut above your standard Hollywood film. The casting was excellent. Many people would give their right arm to play the lead role. After watching James Franco’s lifeless performance at the Academy Awards it was great to see him alive once again in this film. Indeed, his performance is a tour-de-force and even if I felt like booing his awards show performance here I felt like giving him a hand. (Okay I suppose three lame puns is enough.)
The film was directed by Danny Boyle, the same director that brought “Slumdog Millionaire and 28 Days Later to life. There is no doubt that Boyle is among the most gifted directors working today. Every one of his films breathes life from start to finish and maintains a dizzying energy level, like watching Usain Bolt run full out for two hours rather than ten seconds.
Among the many things packed into 127 Hours, look for the wonderful cameo appearances by Scoobie-Doo, albeit in inflatable hallucinatory form. The film does a great job of handling Ralston’s hypnogogic imaging, dreams and hallucinations that threaten to claim his life. It is only the sheer, dogged desire to see another day and reconnect with the people he loves that keeps him going. No doubt there is a parable here for the hyper-individualistic North American.
Of course there is that arm amputation scene. Yes it is graphic. But as I said to somebody yesterday, anybody who has seen The Passion of the Christ should have no problem handling this.
As a final word, I have a great idea for a double feature. Get 127 Hours along with the 2003 documentary Touching the Void which tells the astounding survival tale of two mountain climbers lost in the Andes. And as a bonus for the atheists out there, Touching the Void proves that there can be an atheist in a foxhole.