127 Hours sounds a strange name for a film title, I'm sure you would agree. However, 127 hours is the excruciating period of time that passed until Aron Ralston was saved from an unbelievable situation. Based on the book Between a Rock and a Hard Place written by Ralston about the real-life event that took place in 2003.
Now, you could say that Aron Ralson is an obsessive outdoorsman. This guy is a full-on action man, who is willing to take on anything. One of his favorite pastimes is canyoning, which requires skilled rock climbing techniques. So, one day he heads off on his own to solo climb in the Blue John Canyon in Utah. Now, this is important, he did not leave a note to say where he had gone. Aron was 26 and invincible, so expected there to be no issues as it was easily within his skill range. However, when an 800-pound boulder comes loose and traps him against the canyon wall. What follows, results in a horrific animalistic struggle for survival that ends in the most terrible of choices.
It's fair to say that 127 Hours, is first and foremost a survival story but confronts the horrific choice that Ralston had to make to stay alive. So, the premise is not very complicated at all and would need something special to bring it to the screen. But, let me tell you, Director Danny Boyle creates more than just a film. He succeeds in creating an experience.
So, how does he do this? The smart bit is by breaking the film up into three distinct pieces. The first part invites the audience into the fun, action, and adventure. Which, succeeds in drawing you into a close personal experience. The second part throws you into the agonizing personal experience with your new friend that you have just made a connection too. Then the third and final part allows you to digest or recover from what just happened.
On top of this, Danny Boyle immerses the audience into the experience. With the use of spectacular camera work, using every trick in the book to pull you in. There are brilliant sound techniques deployed too, some so horrific that it will generate a deep animal reaction. Plus there are some well placed spiritual moments that enhance the connection to the moment. Put simply, Danny Boyle makes an incredibly unique film. For what is an extremely challenging subject.
So, now to the people in front of the camera. Well, the story does not leave too much scope for the supporting cast. There are some solid performances. A good example is the spectacular, Clémence Poésy who really steals the camera in each of the scenes she appears in. But right up front in most of 127 Hours is James Franco, playing Aron Ralston. Now, I must say that personally I am not a great fan of him. So, I didn't expect too much. But all credit to him, he is incredible in 127 Hours. Franco, genuinely draws you in, so much so that you feel strongly for the person and the choices being made. How James Franco did not walk away with an Oscar for this performance is an outrage.
Well, you may have guessed that I think 127 Hours is a triumph of a movie. For me, I had already read the book and knew a great deal about the story. So kind of thought it would be more like a doco drama approach, just to get the realism across. But, the end result is a huge surprise. Very entertaining, whilst staring down the challenge of what it would be to look death square in the eyes.
It goes without saying, that I have attempted to avoid the big spoiler. But I must say, if you have a weak stomach, I would strongly recommend that you turn away from the screen at certain times. However, if you have a strong disposition, you will witness something that you will question so many times. Something that you will find hard to believe and possibly never wish to see or think about again.