Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Movie review: “127 Hours” - Royal Purple - Lifestyle

In 2003, rock climber Aron Ralston decided to take a trip to Blue John Canyon without telling anybody where he was going. While traversing the rugged terrain, he fell into a small, narrow canyon, at which point a small boulder became dislodged and pinned his forearm against the wall. After numerous futile efforts, he believed he was going to die. He spent the next five days sipping what little water he had left before finally amputating his arm off with a dull knife from part of a cheap multi-tool. He then had to rappel down a 65-foot wall, at which point a family saw him, gave him food, water, and called in rescue.

There is a question that has to be asked: how can this scenario be turned into a film? Well, it has been done, and the result is one of the best movies on 2010. Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire) has brought to us one of the best portraits of survival out there, using his trademark kinetic directing style, and James Franco (Spider-Man) has given us his best performance to date, showing that he can go against the best of the best in the acting world. 127 Hours is destined to go down as one of the most harrowing tales ever brought to the silver screen, and everybody should experience it.

Boyle's directing style helps turn what could've been a very boring movie into a very exciting, yet excruciating, tale. The only reason I say that it could have been boring is for the fact that if an inexperienced director took the helm, what would they show? Ralston sitting at the bottom of a canyon, trapped? Boyle makes the pitfall engaging. He keeps it interesting. Boyle even has a way of making us feel some of Ralston's pain with visual and audio cues, which are very apparent and very effective. Franco definitely helps with that, showing off the numerous emotions needed to capture Ralston's situation perfectly. He goes from a happy-go-lucky mountaineer to a delirious man who has accepted his inevitable death. His performance is perfect, and I really won't be surprised if he wins for Best Actor this year.

There is one part of the movie, though, that doesn't exactly fit in with the rest of the movie. At one point, towards the end, Boyle decides to turn Ralston's experience into a talk show of sorts, complete with a laugh track in tow. It also shows a complete shift in Ralston's personality, showing him as an exuberant talk show personality interviewing himself, who is also in higher spirits than he previously was. It's not that big of a deal, in fact, I think it helps the movie pick up steam once more, right before the amputation.

And yes, you do get to see the amputation. And yes, it's very gruesome. But it was the anticipation of the scene more so than the actual scene itself that make me cringe. Every time it looked like he was going to go through with it but didn't, yikes. It had me on the edge of my seat the whole time.

127 Hours is one of the best movies I have seen this year. Thanks to the phenomenal performance by James Franco, Danny Boyle's fantastic direction, and a very engaging story, I cannot recommend this movie enough. Please, I implore you, try and find a theater that is playing this movie.


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