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Film: 127 Hours

"Don't pass out."
— Aron Ralston, to himself (and the audience)

127 Hours is a 2010 film directed by Danny Boyle, and stars James Franco as real-life mountain climber Aron Ralston, and the horrific 5-day incident Aron endured in April 2003.

While hiking in Blue John Canyon in Utah, Aron made a misstep when he grabbed on to a loose boulder while climbing down a narrow canyon. The boulder dislodged, and Aron and the boulder fell to the bottom, where the boulder crushed his right forearm against the canyon wall. The film dramatizes Ralston's experience of being trapped by the boulder for 127 hours, and the unthinkable choice he must make in order to survive.

This movie contains examples of:

  • An Aesop:
    • No man is an island. Nobody exists in isolation, and everyone needs help sometimes. Also, always tell people where you're going.
    • Don't buy cheap knives.
    • Prioritize: emergency equipment (like a phone) first, camera last.
  • All Just a Dream: A sudden storm comes, Aron moves the boulder under the flooding water, and runs off to meet his girlfriend. It is unclear whether this is a dream, hallucination, fantasy, or something else entirely.
  • Badass: Say what you will about how Aron got himself into his predicament, but cutting off your own arm with a pen knife takes balls.
  • Based on a True Story: And how!
  • Babies Ever After
  • Break the Cutie/Break the Haughty: The latter to a lesser degree. Aron is a very nice guy, but is shown as being a tad careless.
  • Cat Scare: Used only once surprisingly. Aron feels something creeping up behind him. With his headlight dead, he decides to snap a picture of it. The flash shows an inflatable Scooby-Doo, but the picture shows nothing to be there.
  • Chekhov's Gag: Kristi and Megan invite Aron to a party, saying he can't miss it because there would be a 60-foot inflatable Scooby Doo (from Scooby-Doo). If there actually was one is never known, but Scooby figures strongly in his hallucinations.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Pops up several times.
  • Covers Always Lie: The DVD cover doesn't have a single picture showing Aron in the position he spends most of the movie in. There are a few pictures of him climbing, several of him cavorting with the girls, and even one of him on a snow-covered mountain. While all of those are seen in the movie, it's hardly representative of the action in the film.
  • Determinator: Engineers in the audience will get a kick out of Aron's thought processes.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending
  • Friend to All Living Things
    "No number twos yet... which will disappoint my insect friends."
  • From Bad to Worse: In so many ways.
  • Gallows Humor: Inevitable. At one point, Aron rips into himself for getting into this situation by conducting a mock radio interview with himself. Not only that, but an audience track is heard (obviously in Aron's head). Aron makes a joke to the "host" about how he won't be reported as missing until Wednesday, when he will surely be dead, and the imaginary crowd bursts out laughing, making the scene more unsettling.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Played straight many times. Unsurprising, given the subject matter. Of course, there's a few subversions thrown in, just to keep you on your toes.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Aron is frustrated and doesn't fail to let off a Cluster F-Bomb... but when he's filming himself and relating his situation to the camera, he refers to defecation as "number two".
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Aron breaking his arm then cutting it off with a dull penknife to free himself from the boulder. Justified in the movie and in the real-life incident due to the fact that he tried everything he could over the 5 days to find a different solution.
  • Life or Limb Decision: The most famous, literal, and ultimate real-life example.
  • Nobody Poops: Averted, in that he points out that he hasn't. So nobody does poop, but it's acknowledged that people do.
  • Oh Crap:
    • During the first day, when the camera slowly pulls back to reveal how remote the canyon is and how futile his screams for help are.
    • When his thirst starts getting to him, there's a zoom all the way back to his car, and the Gatorade bottle he left there.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Not pointed out, but Aron pretty much has to consider what he just did to himself as this if he's going to survive and get help.
  • Perma Shave: Aron spends the better part of a week in the canyon, but his moustache/goatee does not grow at all. It is justified, however, in that some people have the same type of stubbly, uneven beard growth and no matter how long they wait, which is indeed the case for Aron, as the pictures he took of himself (they're in his book) show.
  • Prolonged Prologue: Though the opening credits start right away, the actual title doesn't appear onscreen until Aron traps himself, about 15 minutes in.
  • Real Person Cameo: Real Life Aron Ralston appears at the very end.
  • Safety Gear Is Cowardly: Demonstrates why this trope is a very bad idea. If Aron had followed basic safety protocol such as letting people know where he was going, the story might have played out a lot differently.
  • Shown Their Work: Ralston himself said it was as accurate as possible without being a documentary. Ralston helped a little: he gave the filmmakers access to his video journal from inside the canyon.
  • Sickening Crunch: You know the part. When he breaks his own bones to amputate his arm.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance:
    • Bill Withers' "Lovely Day" appearing in the scene where Aron builds a pulley system in an attempt to get out from under the boulder.
    • Inverted with the sound design when Aron has to sever the nerve and just touching it causes a loud buzz/screech ( la the Operation board game) falling somewhere between microphone feedback and a chainsaw. The result is a downright visceral reaction that one can imagine is only a iota of what Aron actually felt.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Which events really take place, which are memories, which are premonitions, which are fantasies, and which are hallucinations?

Toy Story 3Academy Award for Best Original SongCountry Strong
The King's SpeechAcademy AwardBlack Swan
6 SoulsFilms of the 2010s4.3.2.1

alternative title(s): One Hundred And Twenty Seven Hours; Ptitledknqx0lo
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