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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I recently saw 127 Hours, a rock (no pun intended) solid movie about
the true story of Aron Ralston.
In the film, James Franco plays Ralston, a thrill seeker whose arm became pinned between a boulder and a canyon wall while he was rock climbing in Utah. He became trapped for over five days, taking drastic measures to survive, before finally resorting to amputating his arm off, and eventually making it out alive. At this point, it's a cliché to say, but this is nothing short of a remarkable, and incredible true story.
Some would accuse the film of being style over substance, I'd disagree, but I can see the point of their argument, but just hear me out. Danny Boyle is a remarkable director whose films usually include frenetic film editing, inventive camera techniques, and thumping music. Those traits work well in other films of his (like Slumdog Millionaire and 28 Days Later), but while they are clever, they tend to remove focus from the main plot line of THIS film. Unfortunate to say, but the editing and camera-work had a tendency of irritating me.
Still, that's no reason AT ALL for me to call 127 Hours a BAD movie, especially not for the film's true driving force, James Franco. He carries the whole film on his back, and 99% of which is entirely on his own. His performance is intense and emotional, and never feels false, never feels preachy, and never lets us take our attention off the screen. One of the year's very, VERY best.
And even if the aesthetics tended to get in the way, they can't bog down the passion behind forming the screenplay. Not only is it a successful story of survival, but it also ties in a theme of embracing, rather than shunning society. The sound mix is also sleek, and the pacing tends to hop between slow and fast, and I mean that in the best possible way, as it appropriately shows how the daily struggles of Aron's life either glides by, or drags along. It also features a beautiful end credits song by Dido and A.R. Rahman.
If you can look past whatever flaws there are, you'll find A LOT to admire.
I give 127 Hours *** out of ****
Well since you're here you probably already read the description of the
story. I personally don't think it a good one but if you were content
with "Phone Booth" or other stories revolving around the same person
being stuck at the same place for one and a half hours then this is for
Of course this movie has the usual stuff to keep the average viewers from losing interest but only for the first few scenes. I'm not saying this movie is poorly made - only that it is boring. Various techniques have been used trying to prevent this obvious flaw. I mean: some guy stuck under a boulder for 127 hours? Wow that sounds "adventurous".
Adapting mountaineer Aron Ralston's autobiography 'Between a Rock and a
Hard Place' , Danny Boyle gives us a reconstruction of his freak
accident in a remote Utah canyon, and his outré survival tactics during
the 127 hours he was caught between a rock and a wall in a hard place.
What saves Ralston, besides near-mythical courage, is his engineering
expertise. He attempts to make pulleys to dislodge the boulder. When
these fail he is forced to break bones to slice off his decayed arm,
using inappropriate cutting tools to do so.
Hard to make this compulsive viewing, as most of the static action takes place in a canyon. But then Boyle is the man who immortalised Irvine Welsh's 'Trainspotting', another book thought to be unfilmable. We've seen breathtaking scenery before, but not like this. Luscious photography means you don't physically have to be in this region to appreciate its grandeur.
To hold our attention, Boyle throws everything at us: split screen, catchy pop songs, state-of-the art special effects. I have only a few reservations, but they are significant. I didn't like the scenes of phantasmagoria. I felt they came too often and were off-putting. I also disliked James Franco's portrayal. Praise has been given for him being able to convincingly capture Ralston's self-deprecation and charm, but there's a reason he wasn't Boyle's first choice (British actor Cillian Murphy was): he's as flat as parts of Utah.
Sometimes, when a film does phenomenally well, like Boyle's 'Slumdog Millionaire', the success somehow attaches to the director's next film, regardless of the critical reception, and our objectivity gets distorted. It's as though we see their next film with predetermined praise. I think that's what audiences the world over are doing with this film.
By his own admission Boyle prefers to make 'vivacious' rather than 'serious' films. '127 Hours' does not contradict. This is another demonstration of style over substance. Sad, given that Ralston did not want his 'life-affirming' experience to be commodified.
Sick that is the only word to describe this film. No story, no entertainment, no message of any kind. A sick film about one careless person loosing a limb for his own misadventure. May be there is an indirect message, don't be reckless, careless, respect nature and you will be in peace and in one piece. Okay some good things. Camera, Music, the beautiful canyon, the mystery pool, the girls, the lead guy who did his best. Story? oh... who cares, entertainment? somebody loosing a limb is certainly no way be any joy o any one. A film should have an entertainment value or infotainment value or both, this film has nothing, but just sick.
Good story.... but would have been better if it was shown in some NAT GEO survival series. I was unlucky to watch it on big screen with 7 colleagues and believe me we had nothing to cheer about. But the good lesson we learned was "Always leave a note at home when you go for some adventure" and also..... Do not watch a movie based on only IMDb rating. I think the reason behind such high rating of this movie is only that its based on some true story and the people who watched it were had so much sympathy for the trapped person that they immediately logged into IMDb and gave it rating above 8 lol. Believe me I have watched many better survival stories on Nat Geo.
"127 Hours" is based on a true story of Aron Ralston. If you don't know
who Ralston is then the ending might be a big surprise to you. It's
quite inspiring and superior. Anyways the filmmaking was obviously
decent. Danny Boyle's directing is a little bit overrated. Then the
strong performance of James Franco. "127 Hours" is a movie that you
already know what it's going to be.
This can be called "Buried" with flashbacks and origins of the incident. "127 Hours" is non-fiction and Danny Boyle wanna show the real gore that happened. Which is a good thing. Boyle is using his same old directing style but now it has montage and some product placement. James Franco's performance was pretty strong and the cinematography is definitely good.
Danny Boyle's movies are usually overrated but it is still entertaining though. It's definitely worth watching but you might get disappointed if you are expecting something enormous. "127 Hours" is a plain Danny Boyle movie and again it's obviously decent.
In 2003 mountain-climber Aron Ralston went on a hiking trip in a
desolate part of Utah without telling anyone where he was going. He
became trapped at the bottom of a canyon when a boulder dislodged and
pinned his right arm to a wall. Over the course of five days with
little water, less food, and no hope of being found, Aron made a video
diary documenting his ordeal while trying to sustain by any means
necessary (including drinking his own urine). Eventually, in a moment
of desperation, Aron was forced to amputate his arm with a dull knife
in order to escape. Ralston is obviously a brave human being, who was
faced with a dilemma in which many people would've chosen death. His
act is a triumph of human determination and willpower and his story is
brought to life by Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle. 127 Hours is
widely considered one of the best films of 2010 and recently received
six Oscar nominations, including Best Picture. While complaints have
been aimed at Aron's character (some people see his decision to not
tell anyone where he was going "stupid), the use of dream
sequences/surreal imagery, and Boyle's hyperkinetic style; I found no
issue with these aspects of the film. In fact, I've been so impressed
by this film the two times I've seen it I can hardly find a negative
thing to say about it.
Boyle and his co-writer Simon Beaufoy (the Oscar-winning scribe behind Boyle's previous film Slumdog Millionaire) stay faithful to Aron's ordeal and over the course of a riveting 90 minutes, Boyle shows us how powerful the will to survive can be. The success of the film hinges on the dynamite portrayal of Aron by James Franco. The film spends the first 15 minutes establishing Aron's thrill-seeking personality; his drive to Blue John Canyon in Utah, his encounter with two girls (Amber Tamblyn and Kate Mara), and eventually the moment where he found himself in an unimaginable situation. From here, it's a one-man show for Franco. Aron has a watch, a video camera, a CD player, headphones, a flashlight, a rope and pulley, but almost no food and little water. Franco leads us through Aron's initial attempts to escape, his quiet acceptance of his fate, and his refusal to simply wait for death. Knowing the ending doesn't make the film any less suspenseful and the proceedings are nothing short of riveting.
Boyle tells this story in just 90 minutes, a perfect running-time that neither drags it out nor rushes it. In the hands of another director this could have been a snooze-fest, but Boyle has crafted a film that creates tension by perfectly capturing the claustrophobia of Aron's ordeal. While dream sequences/hallucinations are used, they don't clutter the story needlessly. They are necessary to establish Aron's personality and further the themes that Boyle and Beaufoy are trying to convey with their interpretation of Aron's story. It's not these images or his visual pizazz that Boyle uses to carry the story, but his willingness to stay with Aron and allow James Franco to lead the audience through the story with his show-stopping performance.
The success of the film rests on Franco's shoulder and I couldn't spot the slightest misstep in his performance. Franco has to be interesting enough to hold your attention for over an hour, as well as making his character's journey believable. Through body language and tone of voice, Franco makes you believe you're watching an optimistic man slowly relinquish all hope before making one final decision in an attempt to save his own life. This is not a typical Oscar-bait performance, but a nuanced performance built on much subtlety. Spending the bulk of the film in a small space without the use of his right arm, Franco brings the audience right into that canyon with him. When the climactic scene arrives, you believe that Aron has reached this point of desperation. Had Franco made the smallest mistake in his performance, it could've brought the whole film down. I believe James Franco would win the Academy Award if not for Colin Firth as he delivers one of the most riveting and truly impressive screen performances of 2010.
One can't discuss this film without mentioning the climax, where Aron must finally take his fate into his own hands and amputate his arm. The scene is both realistic and horrifying, even more when one takes into account that this actually occurred. Rarely does a scene make me wince and recoil the way this scene did. It's brilliantly shot, acted, edited, and executed; graphic, but Boyle only shows as much as necessary relying on haunting sound effects and Franco to convey what's happening. It's a powerful, unforgettable scene.
127 Hours is an unforgettable experience that works on so many different levels. It's entertaining, exciting, intense, brilliant, and ultimately moving; a triumphant piece of filmmaking and is undoubtedly one of the best films of 2010. Having seen it several now, it's still as suspenseful and powerful as it was the first time I watched it. While subsequent viewings and time may show some imperfections, it will remain the most intense movie-going experience I had in 2010.
127 Hours, as its title suggests, recounts the 127 hours that hiker and
rock climber Aron Ralston spends stranded in a slot canyon, based on
recounts of the true story in Ralston's best-selling memoir "Between a
Rock and a Hard Place". After an accident with a loose rock, Ralston
stumbles into a crevice and ultimately lands with his right arm wedged
tightly between the rock and the canyon wall. As the days pass by,
Ralston runs low on water, uses up his food, and his efforts at
chipping away at the rock with a dull knife seem to be in vain. The
only thing that keeps him going are promises he made to his family and
the hope that he would one day see his loved ones again.
As you can imagine, this movie is as much director Danny Boyle's as it is James Franco's. When nearly all of the film's 94 minutes consist of Franco's psychological turmoil, his acting has to carry the movie, and as expected, Franco pulls it off very nicely. Expect some terrific and believable acting as Ralston struggles not only to free himself from the rocky prison, but also to come to terms with personal mistakes he made earlier in his life. However, 127 Hours may unwittingly fall into the category of 'psychological thriller', and with such a genre comes some strong expectations: intense scriptwriting and extraordinary acting. While the film may not necessarily be a "thriller" because it purposely recounts the real-life story of Aron Ralston, it still falls victim to its requirements; and this is where we see a disappointment in the movie. Nothing is missing from the acting side, but the script is regular, rather boring, and predictable. We know Ralston is still alive, we know he suffered, we know some parts were gritty- but no flourish is added to the original story to make it interesting. Everything is straightforward- no twists. 127 Hours wishes itself to be more engaging than it actually is. Still, it stays close to the facts of the book, which leads me to the conclusion that Ralston's tale makes a better story than it does a movie (and that psychological thrillers may not be Boyle's strong suit).
James Franco puts out a terrific role in this movie, but aside from his performance you can't expect anything too out-of-the-ordinary or impressive. 6/10
From the get-go, people were skeptical about this film adaptation of
Aron Ralston's autobiography Between a Rock and a Hard Place, and for
good reason: it's hard to make a compelling drama about a man who spent
five days of his life stuck in a canyon. Or, as Danny Boyle puts it:
"The audience has to care for the entire 127 hours, not just the last
40 minutes" (the contents of which it's best not to disclose in case
someone isn't aware of how the story ends). Now, it is remarkable, even
commendable, that Boyle used his newfound respectability (read:
post-Oscar rise in fame) to get this seemingly impossible project off
the ground, but throughout the film there's an awkward truth that
emerges: he wasn't the right director for this project.
A shame, since the story could lend itself to a good movie, provided certain adjustments were made. As Ralston recounts in his book, he should have told someone where he was going on that fateful day in 2003, when his latest mountain trip turned into a nightmare: stuck between a huge boulder and the mountain wall and unable to move, he quickly ran out of supplies and optimism, giving in to hallucinations and video-messages to his loved ones. Then, on the fifth day, he came up with a brave, shocking solution.
The challenge, according to Boyle, was making 127 Hours a film that worked as a full dramatic unit, not just a money shot with an irrelevant build-up. His passion for the project was so big that, for the first time in his career, he has also worked on the script (alongside Slumdog Millionaire partner Simon Beaufoy). And for the first fifteen minutes or so, it looks like he's nailed the tone, capturing Aron's euphoria and naivety as he prepares for the hike, arrives at the canyon and interacts with two attractive girls (Kate Mara and Amber Tamblyn) before his unfortunate experience. It's an approach that has worked before - the fun before the tragedy - and it sets up the plot nicely.
Unfortunately, once Ralston is stuck (and Boyle with him, so to speak), the director has to figure out how to make the film gripping without leaving the canyon. His solution? He doesn't, allowing for several hallucination and dream sequences that allow him to expand the cast (Kate Burton and Treat Williams as the parents, Lizzy Caplan as the younger sister) and, more importantly, show off his visual trademarks once again. And there lies the real problem with 127 Hours: given the harrowing and very real subject matter, a certain restraint would be expected. Instead, the film is closer in tone to Trainspotting and Slumdog Millionaire, meaning the true story displayed on screen looks too fake and movie-like to fully convince. Okay, so the scenes in question are justified in terms of narrative (Ralston himself has admitted he was hallucinating), but playing them on a loop, like Boyle does (seriously, there's a dream sequence every five minutes), makes for a very repetitive and dull viewing.
This also impacts on the central performance, arguably the film's main talking point. Though his talent has never been in question, be it as James Dean, Spider-Man's best friend or a comedy drug dealer, James Franco is justly regarded as one of the finest actors of his generation. However, he's never had to carry an entire movie (well, most of it) like he does here, and it's truly sad that Boyle struggles to keep his camera still, because the pain and despair reflected on Franco's face is the kind of a stuff that, if the overall movie were stronger, would definitely be worthy of an Oscar. Even if the growth (or rather lack thereof) of his facial hair over those five days is absolutely unrealistic.
On paper, the combination of material, star and filmmaker was a good match. At the end of it all, though, the result is uneven and unconvincing, and it's all due to the director. Don't get me wrong, Danny Boyle is a very talented filmmaker. It's just that until he finds a way to keep his more visionary instincts in check, he should stay away from movies like this one.
This is a unbelievably super-overrated boooring piece of S&*(t. I just cannot believe that it's been put foreward as a serious Chance maker for the Oscars. the whole film we see this one guy, traped after a wandering accident...until he decides to do something drastic to change his situation.Nothing is happening to keep you keep you interested. I truly believe that the only success of this 'film 'is it's reputation...that's why folks watch it. it is to Me the most boooring(one off at least) Films i have ever seen. How interesting can you keep on watching a guy how cant move more than e few centimeter's.Despite some flashy editing and some supposedly dreamlike sequences. terrible,Yakk. But..OK to me the Oscars for years already are never something to be taken seriously... This nomination does prove my view. It's the marketing and rumours about this thing that draws the viewers.the main sequence even is not so much horrific and lacking of real guts by the director.it's..well kinda lame...
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