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127 HOURS (2010)

>> Saturday, January 8, 2011

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James Franco plays Aron Ralston in this amazing true story directed by the wonderful Danny Boyle. The tale goes like this: one day in 2003, Ralston was canyoneering in Utah when he slipped down a crevice and inadvertently got trapped, by pinning his arm in between a rock and a hardplace (also the title of Ralston's book). Surprisingly, a few years before the age of MySpace and Facebook, Ralston still felt the need to document his adventures via the mediums of digital photography and video. Boyle uses these devices, by the way, as a great storytelling tool - but it's certainly nothing we haven't seen before.

The movie itself does not run the actual 127 hours, but a mere ninety or so - which is perfect. During this time we become privy to knowing who Ralston is and a bit about his life. Boyle uses some nice techniques to take us inside Ralston's head as he slowly slips into madness from lack of nourishment. The parts I found the most intriguing though were those where Ralston filmed his video diaries. Even as he came face to face with impending death, a part of who he was and his casual demeanor shone through and he was still able to hold onto a sense of humour - as dark as that humour may have been at times.

Unsurprisingly, this film reminded me a lot of movies like Cast Away (2000), Into the Wild (2007) and more recently, last year's Frozen. Although I don't suspect it will happen, eventually I would like to see a documentary containing the real footage and photos Ralston captured. While Franco is at his best here (I've never really been a fan), there's something to be said for seeing the real Ralston going through the real thing.

127 Hours easily gets an open door. It's incredibly haunting, very touching and in some ways - a bit spiritual. Boyle does a great job with everything from the unique cinematography to the incredibly effective soundtrack. This is by far the most compelling docudrama of 2010 and I would keep an eye on it come Oscar time.

*Stills courtesy of 20th Century Fox


Steve Finnell January 19, 2011 at 8:32 AM  

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