Tuesday, November 16, 2010

And there it is - stuck.

127 Hours chewed me up a little, but I came out a little better for it. Danny Boyle has created some of my favorite films, such as Trainspotting, Millions, and Slumdog Millionaire, and his latest story is another wondrous spectacle. Boyle has chosen the story of Aron Ralston, the hiker who had to cut his own arm off after being trapped by a boulder. We all remember the story in the news, and we all wondered if someone would make a movie. Well, Danny Boyle has, and 127 Hours is a great movie.

James Franco plays Aron Ralston, and he basically owns the movie, spending most of the time by himself on camera. Sure, he meets a couple of hikers before he gets trapped, but the rest of the film is Ralston and his memories and hallucinations. Franco does a superb job here, convincingly conveying Ralston's resolve and his fear.

Boyle does a lot of stuff with the camera and the editing, and we are often bombarded with images. But the result is a brilliant portrayal of a man coming to terms with what he has to do because of coming to terms with what he has to live for. All of Boyle's decisions, from split-screens to cameos by Scooby Doo to superimposed images of living rooms and canyons, work well as a whole. Plus, as always, Boyle has put together an awesome soundtrack (culminating in a perfectly chosen "Festival" by Sigur Rós).

When the time comes for what we know is coming, Boyle does not sugar-coat the event or turn the camera away. This is gruesome (and noisy) stuff, but I felt compelled not to turn away--not because of some perverse desire to see such nastiness, but because I truly felt that I had been along for this ride and owed it to Ralston to at least watch what he had to do.

Danny Boyle continues to shine, and James Franco does some of his best work here. 127 Hours will be one to watch at Oscar time. I don't think it is the best film of the year, but man it's good.


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