127 Hours (2010)

February 21, 2011 By Mike B
Movie Review

What Worked?

The human spirit going up against death is a timeless theme. Danny Boyle’s film about the adventurous Aron Ralston going toe to toe with Death in the form of mother nature and time is exhilarating. Boyle is in top form with his innovative direction, not just showing, but inserting the audience into the mindset of Ralston. Boyle’s direction is matched well with James Franco’s soul-bearing performance that ranks as one of the best of his career.

Boyle has quite a few tricks up his directorial sleeve in editing this film to match the adventurous Aron Ralston who is addicted to the outdoors. Whether its his use of panels to have various scenes mix on screen, his interesting point of view shots, his documentary video footage or anything else he incorporates, his hyper-active camera enhances the emotions on display. My personal favorite is the camera fast-forwarding from a thirsty Ralston pinned by a boulder to the Gatorade he left in his vehicle. Additionally, Boyle adds another interesting layer by incorporating hallucinations and flashbacks to really place the audience in Ralston’s shoes.

Performance-wise, the film is obviously a one-man show, and the performer definitely brought his A-game. James Franco is at his best in this film, and it can’t be denied. As Aron Ralston, Franco deftly transitions from desperation to comedy to a raging will-power to survive, all while planted in one spot. Much of his performance lies in his mannerisms and facial expressions, and he fully utilizes them to his advantage. Franco is truly an unfiltered spirit as Ralston, examining his life in the face of death.

There are many films with the same theme: the power of human perseverance. We need films like these to use as reminders of what we’re capable of, and the better the film, the better the reminder. 127 Hours is a glowing reminder.

Potential Drawbacks:

The film may be a bit too chaotic in it’s editing, as lot is thrown in the screen at some parts. Some may simply not like the presentation of the film, and find the editing distracting from the film itself.

At times, the film is oddly humorous and that could push back viewers that want the drama of it all. The comedic parts work well, but some may think it’s out of this “type” of film’s style.

Film Recommendations:

Phone Booth
James Dean

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