127 Hours is the true story of mountain climber Aron Ralston's remarkable adventure to save himself after a fallen boulder crashes on his arm and traps him in an isolated canyon in Utah. Over the next five days Ralston examines his life and survives the elements to finally discover he has the courage and the wherewithal to extricate himself by any means necessary, scale a 65 foot wall and hike over eight miles before he can be rescued. Throughout his journey, Ralston recalls friends, lovers, family, and the two hikers he met before his accident. Will they be the last two people he ever had the chance to meet?Written by
Fox Searchlight Pictures
At the beginning of the scene where Aron takes inventory of his supplies after being pinned by the boulder he is hatless. Partway through the scene he inexplicably suddenly has a hat on. See more »
Hey. Aron here. Leave a message.
Hey Aron. Sonja here, again. I know that you're probably gonna be away this weekend. But listen, just think about we we're gonna play. Please. 'Cause we have to decide, and we really... We need to practice, okay? Anyway, it will be fun. I promise. And oh, please call mom. Please. 'Cause she worries, which you know already. Okay. Later, A., goodbye.
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The title "127 Hours" appears about 16 minutes into the film. See more »
A bit over-hyped for what it is, but Boyle and Franco make it really engaging and convincing throughout
There are two things that could or might work against this film. The first thing is that this is the first film from Danny Boyle since the runaway success of Slumdog – so he is a "big" director now and accordingly the posters for this are everywhere and awards are being muted, the star of Pineapple Express is in the lead and audiences are making it their Saturday night choice. The second of them is the plot in which essentially a rather arrogant and spoilt character gets himself into trouble and gets out of it by learning a "lesson" about the error of his ways. This plot could easily be on the Hallmark channel daytime schedule right now complete with corny "I'm learning to be better" music and warm, safe colours everywhere.
The problem with the first thing is that, while these things are true, 127 Hours is essentially an independent movie, not a massive blockbuster and it is the sort of smaller fare that critics love and audiences discover – it isn't the film I expect to be on every other bus shelter. So, while it is really good that he made the decision to do a project he wanted to do rather than cashing in with the "big" Hollywood movie, it may lead some to expect something that the film never pretends to be. Having said that though, in regards the second challenge, thank God that this is a Danny Boyle film and not something picked up by the TV networks or less imaginative director, because this could have been corny, obvious, sentimental and cloying. In fact, Boyle appears to be working against that as much as humanly possible.
We have very little time in the film before our character is alone, down a hole and trapped alone. Most of us will know where it is going and the question is how will the next 80 minutes be filled? The content of the film is indeed the character beating himself up a bit over who he is, struggling with hallucinations and become more and more fevered until he decides that he has to do what he has to do. It is really well scripted though and Boyle really delivers in terms of putting it on the screen. I thought the idea of "self-revelation flashbacks" sounded cheap and obvious as a device, but Boyle does it really well, making them partially remembered, flashes and even when our character is "in" them, he is still "in" his current predicament – hard to explain perhaps but it worked much better than a complete scene as a flashback. The one problem that his direction does cause is that I never felt trapped with Aron, because the camera was moving out and around so much – I know they shot it in deliberately confined setting but this didn't really come through. That said, I think that this loss is a price worth paying because it does visually engage and these flourishes and style adds more than it detracts. The soundtrack is odd a times but mostly works really well.
Franco is key and this did worry me since Bole says he cast him after seeing how excellent he was in Pineapple Express – a sentiment I really don't agree with, although I though he was likable in a story that was not so likable. Here he is really, really good. He has to do a lot of thinking on his face and he makes this work while also letting his character change over the course of the ordeal. Perhaps we don't get his full character but in terms of the film the performance was really engaging and convincing.
Overall 127 Hours is not the big Saturday night drama that it is billed as, it is an indie film that is very contained and not an easy sell if we're honest. However, it is also a very good film with Boyle really making it his own to the benefit of the material, avoiding the traps of sentiment that so many would have fallen into and producing an engaging situation while Franco matches him with a strong performance that easily holds the attention.
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