If there’s anyone prone to hedonism, it’s Aron Ralston, who doesn’t mind risk or injury, just as long as there’s a certain amount of fun to be had. But Ralston, who continues to explore the world, has had his fair share of misfortune during his travels. Namely, one incident in which he got himself trapped under a boulder, while cayoneering alone in Utah. Forced to come up with a plan to survive, Ralston was forced to amputate his arm, with a dull knife no less – becoming a national icon, before fading into obscurity. However, Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle returns with his take on the story that he “always wanted to do.” And “127 Hours,” which stars James Franco, as the man of the hour is no doubt destined to be big-name at this year’s Academy Awards.
First and foremost, the editing and sound-mixing in “127 Hours” is sublime, and the landscape photography is near breath-taking. If it wasn’t for the fact that we know that this beauty would turn on Aron, it’d emit a calming atmosphere, that would further be elaborated with the serene orchestral score, which is played during the few moments when Aron is completely in tune with nature. However, the distorted rock anthems are nice touches, adding the electrifying sense of urgency that accompanies Aron’s entrapment.
In the style of the “Saw” series, once Aron is trapped, all of his repressed emotions are made explicit. Within hours, he creates talk show interviews with himself – presenting his feeling of hopelessness and morale. He also has wild fantasies about his ex-girlfriend, in which he’s mute, showing Aron’s guilt and lack of control over their break-up, before finally admitting that “this rock has been waiting for me my entire life, every thought, every action, has led me to this crack in this surface.”
Combined with a fantastic screenplay by Boyle and Simon Beaufoy (which itself is an adaptation of Aron’s own book, “Between a Rock and a Hard Place”), and realistic props, including the prosthetic arm that is used, James Franco proves that he can carry a film. It’s because of his realistic performance that “127 Hours” is full of cringe-inducing moments, and scenes that make you jump out of your seat.
Though it’s sometimes painful to watch, Danny Boyle’s “127 Hours” is a satisfying biographical picture, and follow-up to “Slumdog Millionaire,” which showcases Franco’s acting ability. However, it did leave me with one question: Why doesn’t Aron own a cell phone?
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