Sunday, December 12, 2010

Movie Review - 127 Hours

127 Hours - **1/2

Directed by: Danny Boyle

Starring: James Franco, Kate Mara

Review: It is a scary proposition to reach the point of desperation where such a drastic measure is necessary that your life will be completely altered from that point forward. Nobody ever knows what they're capable of until they are put in that situation in which they have no choice.

Aaron Ralston didn't have a choice and when he was put in that situation he made the most drastic move you could have made. Most people have heard the story about the man trapped in the wilderness under a rock in Utah and having to cut his own arm off with a dull pocket knife to get free. This movie is not necessarily concerned with the result as it is with how he got there. What clouds a man's thoughts in those 127 hours you are trapped? What drives someone to take such a measure?

For Ralston he had too much to live for. It was his zest for life that brought him into his predicament in the first place. While hiking around his "second home" the BlueJohn trail in Utah, he takes an inopportune fall and finds himself literally trapped between a rock and a hard place.

The stages of grieving are all there. Amongst them are denial, 'this can't be happening,' anger 'why was I so stupid?' trying to change the situation 'what could I have done differently' and finally acceptance 'whoever finds this tell my parents I love them.' One would imagine that in such a scenario pretty much everyone would go through the same stages. The question is, how many people would pick themselves up after that and fight till the end and how many would be found as a skeleton years later?

Ralston fights till the end. Even after accepting his fate he refuses to succumb to it. If he's gonna die there he's gonna make every effort he can to get out and that's just what he did driving him to cut his arm off in order to make his escape. Giving him inspiration is his family, friends, and loved ones.

It is in these scenes where we really get a feel for who Ralston is. We learn a little bit about who he is, how he got to where he is, and why he got himself into that situation. Ralston takes us through his day taking him out there and where he could have done more to avoid getting into the situation he finds himself in. All of that is moot however as he finds himself trapped nonetheless. While thinking about his life and all his loved ones he finds himself wishing he didn't take them for granted. He also uses that as his motivation to literally cut himself loose of this situation.

James Franco gives a solid performance but I came away form the movie slightly less impressed than I thought I could've been. Stylistically, Danny Boyle does a great job and makes the movie very interesting to just sit and watch. Franco does a good job of keeping us all interested, but the direction of the movie is not quite clear. Are these things we are seeing delirious thoughts, are they memories, or are they made for the screen flashbacks to help us as movie goers? This is all not clear and it makes it more confusing to get a window into the life of this intriguing man.

The movies cannot obviously be 127 hours long but it jumps through everything pretty quickly and doesn't really give you a good idea of what it's like to be in that situation. They also don't seem to go into too much detail about what he tries to do to escape, it is all done stylistically but as for the movie, it doesn't quite give you a better picture.

The movie was solid, but not great. It is worth your time only if you are extremely curious about this man and what it takes to cut your own arm off and escape in such a harrowing manner.

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