Film: 127 Hours
Cast includes: James Franco (Freaks and Geeks)
Writer/Director: Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire)
Genre: Drama (2010) Based on the memoir, Between a Rock and a Hard Place
In brief: Escaping the rat race of city life is one of the reasons Aron Ralston loves the Utah canyons. It’s not easy to carve out the time for him self. As he scrambles to pack his backpack, it’s no wonder he overlooks a few things. He hasn’t forgotten his video camera though. And he uses it to document his weekend adventure. “It’s Friday, April 25, 2003,” he tells the video camera. “The guidebook says it’ll take 4 and a half hours to reach Blue John Canyon. I plan to cut 45 minutes off that,” he tells the video before heading off on his bicycle. Aron is extremely fit and frightened of nothing. On the way, he meets a couple of girls who have gotten turned around, and he volunteers to be their guide for a few hours. He has a shortcut, but it involves some climbing and squeezing… “We climb. We squeeze,” they say.
The girls think Aron is so much fun they invite him to their party tomorrow night. They give him the address and tell him to look for the giant inflatable Scooby Doo. Back on his own, Aron heads for a crack in the earth called Blue John. The big rock at the entrance looks iffy so he tests it. It tests OK… but it isn’t OK. Aron and the rock go flying down into the crevice. When they finally stop falling, Aron’s arm is pinned under the rock, and there’s no chance that anyone is ever going to find him… alive. After the anger, the yelling, the denial, the failure of assorted ideas… Aron takes an inventory and starts evaluating his options.
I waited until this one got an Oscar nomination for Best Picture before I decided to get serious about seeing it. I went with great trepidation because I’m kind of squeamish about watching a man cut off his own arm without anesthesia. If you are too, here’s what I can tell you. The do-it-yourself arm surgery isn’t the only part that will make you squeamish. Even if you’ve never suffered from claustrophobia, you might while watching 127 Hours. There were many points when I didn’t think I could stay with it. But just when I had almost reached the limits of my endurance, the filmmakers took us to another place… a flashback, a video recording session, an hallucination. By the time we finally get to the moment of dread, we are ready for just about anything that will enable us escape. But don’t think you will avoid the pain by covering your eyes. You’d need to block out the sound effects as well. When Aron finally does get to safety, you’ll feel like you really were there with him every inch of the way… and you’ll be so thankful to escape without actually losing an arms. What an experience!
4 popped kernels
An amazing film… I wasn’t sure I’d survive it
Primary Audience: Young adults
Gender Appeal: Macho
Distribution: Mainstream wide release
Mood: Both upbeat and somber
Tempo: Zips right along
Visual Style: Unvarnished realism
Character Development: Engaging
Language: True to life
Social Significance: Pure entertainment