Reviews: One Hundred And Twenty Seven Hours
Into the Great Wide Open
You could be forgiven for approaching 127 Hours with some caution. After all a film that spends ninety minutes in a tiny canyon getting to a conclusion almost everybody knows doesn't sound like a recipe for much tension, suspense or excitment. At least Apollo 13 was in space not in the middle of nowhere in Utah. But this is a Danny Boyle film, and while Danny Boyle directed films are not always great they are always original and so effortlessly stylish. From the obligatory amazing soundtrack that ebbs and flows with the moods of the film, to the beautiful shots of Utah (you could watch 127 Hours for the scenery alone), to casting underappreciated actresses who should be in more movies (Amber Tamblyn, Clemence Poesy), to the trippy-Trainspotting freak out dream moments... it's so hard for the sofa bound layperson to think of a better way to do it. James Franco does a first class job too. Obviously all big movie stars long for their chance to 'ugly up', so to speak, and get as grimy, wet and bloodied as possible, but they rarely have to carry the whole movie almost single handed while mostly talking to themselves. Perhaps the best compliment is that when the real Aron Ralston turns up at the conclusion it doesn't distract one bit with Franco's portrayal of the character; he's still 'Ralston' in our eyes. All in all 127 Hours is way more than it seems on paper; it's a morality tale about appreciating friends and family, it's a claustrophobic thriller, it's an advertisement for the Utah tourist bourd, it could even count as a feel-good movie. Or the happy ending counterpart to Grizzly Man.
A very personal, moving experience.
I am honestly not very familiar with the true story behind the film, so I'm just going to judge it based on its own merits. I'm not a critic, so I'll keep this brief. Danny Boyle is an amazing director. James Franco is a talented actor. This is one of the best survival films I've ever seen. It doesn't shy away from the (literally) gory details, and it is genuinely uplifting. I suggest watching this on your own, as it makes for a very personal experience — as the film is essentially a one man show featuring Franco (along with a huge platter of nightmare/dream/hallucination sequences) you feel intimately close with his character's experience. I found myself whispering words of encouragement to Aron at several parts.