This movie review is about 127 Hours, starring James Franco (Eat Pray Love) and directed by Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire). In short, 127 Hours is a riveting film that focuses on a traumatic, life-changing event for one man who has an incredible will to want to live. Watching it may very well change your life, at least for the ninety-four minutes you are a part of this movie. I don’t think you’ll regret it.
From looking at the box office tallies of the limited release of this movie, not many folks are flocking to the theaters to see it and if you’re one of those folks not going, you’re missing out. You need to find this movie to experience the kind of bravery & the will-to-live that Aron Ralston demonstrated one day back in 2003.
127 Hours is based on a real event where a mountain climber, Aron Ralston, becomes trapped in a small ravine he was hiking (canyoneering) in. He was stuck, his right arm pinned, in Blue John Canyon near Moab, UT for five days. During those five days, he made a number of attempts at freeing himself to no avail. Eventually, with dehydration and delirium setting in, he made the decision to cut off his arm to survive. He did so with a very dull knife from a multi-use tool that he described as something that came free with a $15 flashlight. After freeing himself, he then rappelled down a 60-foot wall and after walking 8 miles, he encountered a vacationing Swedish couple who were instrumental in his rescue.
It was during his five days of solitude that Ralston came to terms with how he had lived his life and some of the errors of his ways. He realizes that this boulder and his entire life were destined to collide. The experience brought the realization that one should always tell someone where you’re going when you go hiking solo & you should never buy cheap knives and you should never take for granted the ones you love.
James Franco delivers a wonderful performance as he takes us on a journey through a man’s mind as he experiences a horrific situation of being trapped, alone, far from any succor in a hopeless situation.
The Tone Is Set
Once Aron becomes trapped, the camera work puts us right there in the ravine, in all its confined terror. There’s no detail left uncovered because there’s nowhere to hide in the tight confines of the situation. Yet despite the confines, Boyle takes the time to pan up and away from the canyon, and we see what a futile situation Ralston is in. It was a very sobering scene. One that set the tone of desperation for the rest of the movie for me.
The Accuracies and Reality of it All
They filmed on location in the exact location where Ralston entered & exited the canyon but the rest of the set was an exact replica of the scene, made possible via Lidar Scanning (Light Detection And Ranging or laser pulsing) of the original location. The set was so accurate from this three dimensional mapping effort that the real Ralston, who consulted for the film, pointed to chip marks on the set boulder and said that’s where I chipped away at it.
In the accuracy department, production designer Suttirat Larlarb even went so far as to find the exact same brands of clothing and gear that Ralston wore during the event. In other words, what appeared to be product placement was actually a product endorsement, even down to his Phish tee-shirt.
In developing the behavioral aspects of the role, Franco & Boyle were given access to the videos that Ralston took of himself while trapped to help set the tone of the finished product.
The only flight of fancy that takes place in the movie is the pool scene with Kate Mara (Iron Man 2) and Amber Tamblyn (Beyond a Reasonable Doubt). They created the scene from two real locations, but combined them. This was done to help cement Ralston’s care-free approach to life itself, and an artistic liberty I have no problem with.
The Message Of Living Life Is Delivered in 127 Hours
In the end, the movie delivered the message on many fronts. First, the free-minded lifestyle of Aron Ralston. Second, his incredible sense of practical, logistical thinking that helped him sort out his situation when he first found himself trapped. Third, his will to live combined with his practical thinking that helped save his life. James Franco delivered all that and in then some in 127 hours.
A Note On “That” Scene
If you’re concerned about the scene where Aron Ralston liberates himself from his dead and lifeless arm, don’t let some of the press deter you. If it happened in any other horror flick like the Saw franchise, we’d experience it, be entertained and move on.
The few moments that folks have had in reaction to the scene probably aren’t any more than what happens in your standard horror flick. What I think is happening is that as a movie goer, Boyle’s vision and Franco’s delivery grips the fan, pulls them in and we also realize that this really did happen. That puts a different sense of horror on the scenario. On the bright side, we only had to sit through a few minutes of the moment. In reality, it took Ralston an hour to do the actual deed.
Folks in my theater experience just kept watching and didn’t look away. Me, well, in the pursuit of this professional perspective, I had to look away to record the audience’s reaction. I “sacrificed” for you my reader.
Box Office Performance So Far
The box office performance of 127 Hours is a conflict of numbers. It’s only grossed just under $7 million but in its limited release, it’s pulled in almost $4k per theater and is competing in the per theater tallies with the top movies, Tangled and Harry Potter. So people are going to see it. I can’t wait to see this movie get a bigger release. Maybe after it wins some Oscars!
127 Hours is a Fantastic Movie
127 Hours is a truly inspiring and riveting movie, that despite the somber ambiance, has its moments of levity and excitement that are all capped off by an incredibly emotional ending that’s hard to not be affected by.
The clips below, the movie trailer and movie clip barely touch on the emotions the movie itself brings and yet the first time I saw the movie trailer, I was like, “Whoa…”.
Feel free to watch the clips and I hope I’ve inspired you to go out and support this wonderful film!
Warning to my readers: I’d suggest SKIPPING the movie trailer itself. Come back after you’ve seen the movie and you will understand why I say that. The movie clip and behind the scenes clips are safe to watch. PLEASE, if you’ve seen the movie, feel free to discuss your thoughts on the movie in the comments below. Just warn readers when you put up spoilers! That’s all I ask.
127 Hours Movie Clip
127 Hours Behind the Scenes Clip
127 Hours Movie Trailer
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