Watching 127 Hours was like going back and watching a real life “Empire Strikes Back.” Even though you’re familiar with the story, you know it’s gonna be totally awesome. Also, some dude’s gonna lose a hand. I was looking forward to seeing this movie for a while, and it did NOT disappoint. Of course, Danny Boyle has set the bar pretty high for himself in the past and had a lot to live up to. This is the same man who brought us Trainspotting, 28 Days Later, and the academy award winning Slumdog Millionaire. And just like those other inspiring films…
… 127 Hours blew me away. It’s the real life story of real life badass Aron Ralston’s real life badassery. You may remember a few year ago hearing about the harrowing tale of a mountain climber who got himself trapped between a rock and a hard place (literally) while out adventuring in the isolated Utah wilderness. He went on countless talk shows, and even wrote a book called “Your Balls Will Never Be As Big As Mine.” And if you don’t remember hearing about this guy… you should be ashamed of yourself and your entire family.
Well this is that story brought to life on the silver (and sometimes crimson splattered) screen. It is an amazing chronicle of one man’s refusal to submit, and the triumph of the human spirit over daunting odds. A true testiment to Aron’s willpower, and his gonads with the density of a dying star. In the movie, Mr. Ralston (played by James Franco) is an outdoorsy engineer who enjoys the solitude of his hillside activities. The audience is treated to the majesty of nature in the beautiful, sweeping landscape shots of desert Utah while the camera follows Ralston around biking, hiking, rock climbing, and generally being awesome.
But tragedy strikes when Aron finds his arm crushed by falling boulder, and he’s pinned at the bottom of canyon with zero chance of anyone stubling across his isolated little deathtrap. Beset upon by thirst, hunger, the elements, and his own looming sense of doom, Aron desperately tries to figure out a way to free himself with the few survival items he has at his disposal. Danny Boyle and James Franco do an amazing job conveying the emotions that real-life Aron Ralston must have gone through, from disbelief, to desperation, to resolution, and everything in between. The entirety of the movie doesn’t just take place within the confines of the canyon, as the audience is treated to flashbacks, hallucinations, and the hillariously dark documentary style footage that Ralston films to try and make peace with his situation and maintain his sanity.
As some of you may heard, the gruesome conclusion actually caused fainting in theater goers at some of the screenings. I’m not going to get into graphic detail here, but this film doesn’t pull any punches. I love horror movies (love them!), but this was something else. Maybe it’s because it was based on actual events, or maybe because the film crew just did an amazing job, or maybe it’s because people tell me I look like a less attractive James Franco, but it… was… intense. Seriously. Try not to let that stop you from seeing this cinematic achievement, but know what you’re in store for.
I should note quickly that Franco is amazing in 127 Hours. I definitely don’t like him in everything I’ve seen, and he’s had quite the strange career (this guy was on General Hospital last winter), but he really knocks it out of the park with this one. I mean, the guy has to carry the lion’s share of this movie on his own, and make us believe that someone was really capable of all this when the chips were down. Like Tom Hanks in Cast Away, if that movie didn’t suck. Franco gets to showcase his smarmy charm, but then takes us down the rabbit hole of his acting abilities. And it is impressive.
Have you seen the movie? What did you think about it? Let me know in the comments below!