Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Movie Review: "127 Hours"

127 Hours is a simple movie. There is only one real prominent character, for the most part one location, and one major action that takes up nearly the entire movie, so how does this movie remain a riveting experience? A perfect collaboration between actor, director, and writers.

Danny Boyle directs the true story of mountain climber Aron Ralston who gets his arm pinned beneath a boulder and ultimately resolves to cut his arm off to survive and find help. Boyle, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Simon Beaufoy, pumps his kinetic visual style throughout the entire movie, using split-screen to marvelous effect to show Ralston's fast-paced, ADD lifestyle. I mean, no one other than Boyle would take shots inside Ralston's arm, or inside Ralston's water bottle. Not only that, Boyle manages to keep this movie from being simply about the situation of being trapped beneath a boulder by including video messages that Aron makes on his digital camera to his friends and family, in case anyone ever finds it, but where the movie really finds its heart and its message is when Aron starts slipping in-and-out of consciousness and blurs his dreams, memories, and reality, all into one.

Actor James Franco plays Ralston as a self-absorbed man, who finds pathos in the end realizing he can't do it all on his own. The greatest thing about Franco's performance, is it feels real, it actually looks and sounds as if he is in the same pain that Ralston most likely was in this situation. Franco holds nothing back and it is primarily because of his reaction that makes the scene where he actually cuts through his arm so tense, not to mention the precise editing and building music by A.R. Rahman.

If there is one thing that 127 Hours is about is the perseverance of the human soul to continue living, even in the most extreme circumstances, and to find that this near death experience only humbles Ralston and makes him a changed man makes the movie all the more affecting and uplifting.

I give 127 Hours an A+!

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