December 1, 2010

Movie Review: 127 Hours

5 stars out of 5
Oh my god. Go see this movie.
That's my review. (The real-life Aron Ralston, right)
Well, I couldn't possibly leave it there but really, it's an amazing film and you have to see it.
I love Danny Boyle's filmmaking (even though I wasn't crazy about Slumdog Millionaire). He has a clear, unique style and a knack for intensity - from the split screen at the beginning (and again at the end) to the perfect music to the way you are so right there with this guy who is in a situation that's impossible to imagine, yet you imagine it, you feel it.
If you've been living on Mars and don't know the story this is a spoiler alert. It's a true story of a guy in Colorado who's an outdoorsman and a risk-taker. He rafts, he hikes, he the extreme. On this day he goes out by himself with a little food and water and a dull knife, climbs down into a canyon and an enormous boulder falls in after him and pins his arm. He's there for 127 hours and has to cut off his own arm to survive.
The arm-cutting is not terribly gruesome although by that time you'd do it yourself. The tension leading up to that moment never lets up. From the time he's pinned I was on the edge of my seat even though I already knew what was going to happen. That's the sign of a great filmmaker.
James Franco's performance is stellar. He has to carry this film and he does it admirably. You believe every move he makes and every word he utters.
It's an amazing film about an amazing story.
I had to wonder, tho, why he couldn't sharpen that knife on the rock. Did it not occur to him or would that not work?
Anyway, small thing. Big thing is, you have to see it.


Anonymous said...

Good question re: sharpening the cutting tool. It may be in the book, which I haven't read. My guess is that by the time he committed to cutting his arm rather than dealing with the boulder, he was already too exhausted and dehydrated to think straight. The act of cutting the arm likely becomes a compulsion though he does think about the bigger details i.e. break the bone, rappel out of the crevice.

Samantha Hoffman said...

That's probably true about not being able to think straight. It's amazing that he had the presence of mind to save himself by cutting off his arm. An incredible story.
Talking about it makes me want to see it again.