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Saturday, January 8, 2011

127 Hours | Review

By far, the greatest movie to ever be based on a dumbass.
You know... I feel for the guy and all having the balls to cut off his arm and being able to survive in the canyons for 5 days and all, but c'mon Aaron Ralston... going off without telling anyone where you were.. you're kind of a dumbass.
So everyone's heard this story before. This is a film adaptation of Between a Rock and a Hard Place which tells the true story of a mountaineer, Aaron Ralston played by James Franco; who in 2003 goes off into Blue John Canyon for a weekend hike but when a boulder falls loose and traps his hand deep in the canyon, he is faced with a gruesome challenge of survival.
I'm talking shit about the guy but seriously, 127 Hours is one fantastic film. People are comparing it to Buried being another bottled film but I see Buried as more of a thriller with a daring, creative director while 127 Hours is more of a character piece directed by Danny Boyle, the man behind Slumdog Millionaire.
127 Hours has two stars, the first is James Franco who has really given a breakthrough performance with this one-man piece. I never knew he had it in him. What with all the stoned and depressed characters he's been playing. No doubt he's gonna get nominated. But... this is kind of Colin Firth's year.. so... nice try.
Franco is eerily authentic in his portrayal. You can see the gradual exhaustion and desperation taking its toll on him; you can see the visible fear on his face as he faces life or death. Not many actors are able to drive a film by mainly interacting with themselves and the static objects around them, but Franco delivers in spades at every turn. Whether he is being devastatingly hilarious or dead serious, he still manages to ensure the realism and intensity of his performance never changes. You will be unable to take your eyes off this riveting portrayal at any time.

But this is still very much Danny Boyle's film. 127 Hours is just masterclass in every way thanks to his brilliance. It takes a lot to make a movie where the guy from Pineapple Express is talking to himself for 1 hour 30 minutes but damn it he did it anyway. The thing I loved is that Boyle finds very creative and somewhat humorous ways of switching between James Franco in the canyon and James Franco's internal interactions. Whether it be Ralston thinking of the hot chicks he saw the other day or intervewing himself, these scenes act specifically as our way into his life and his character dynamic, and overtakes the whole story with the boulder most of the time.
I have also gotta commend the cinematography in this. This film wouldn't have worked without these stylishly and crazily shot and edited set pieces. It does bother me somewhat that Danny Boyle used the same exact stop-motion style in Slumdog Millionaire here to and overused it quite a bit but it's a minor complaint. While I don't think the camerawork in here was better than Buried, it is undeniable that it took craftsmanship to do this.
It is no spoiler if I tell you that at the end of the movie, the dude cuts his damn hand off. You know it's coming and as the film builds and builds the audiences connection with Ralston, you begin to dread that moment where he has to do it. And when that scene comes, they hold nothing back. The scene is notorious for causing people to faint in the cinemas it's showing in but I didn't feel it was THAT bad. But it is still very gruesome, very gut-wrenching, very visceral.
I really don't have that much bad stuff to say about 127 Hours. This is a great film. A stunning tale of physical and internal survival portrayed by a great actor and driven by a greater director.

RATING: 8.5/10

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