Tuesday, 18 January 2011

127 Hours

It’s only Tuesday but due to the mass release of awards ceremony movies a sneaky midweek trip to the cinema was required in order to keep up - the sacrifices one must make in life are truly what makes us great - so off we went, some of us without dinner, to see 127 Hours.

PLOT: The over confident, too cocky for his own good charmer that you would have either hated or crushed on in high school goes out for a run through big, secluded canyons in Colorado only to fall down a hole and get his arm caught between a rock and a hard place. We spend the next 127Hours with Aron Ralston played by James Franco as he tries to free himself. During this time he experiences flashbacks, hallucinations, premonitions and the urge to saw off his own arm with a pen knife. He gets trapped. He think about cutting himself free. He drinks his own urine. He thinks about cutting himself free. He cuts himself free. END PLOT

There are two directors I love and can say I own practically all their movies - Guillermo del Torro (all dvd’s will be owned when I finally get around to getting Blade 2) and Danny Boyle who I have loved since the Trainspotting Days so I was looking forward to this movie on the basis of it being another Boyle picture regardless of its content.

My love of Danny Boyle almost waned slightly during the god awful three way split screen opening credits. It was cheap, it was nasty and although he did a good job in pulling together the Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack I thought AR Rahman’s choice of music was completely wrong.

Good musical cues are a big part of Boyle’s films and after the dodgy opening choice the music came back to form with a really brilliant use of “Lovely Day”.

The movie did not get off to a good start but it picked up with James Franco charming and smarming his way through the canyon with a couple of girls he managed to hook up with.

James Franco is an actor who is totally off my radar - I liked him in Pineapple Express and although I have watched the Spiderman movies I do not remember anything particularly remarkable about him in them. Ryan Reynolds stunned us all by managing to lie in a box for ninety minutes completely alone and he pulled it off. In 127Hours Franco has hallucinations, flashbacks and his imagination to help fill in the movies ninety-four minute running time and he just about manages to get by.

This is where I have a problem - Franco was fine with what he was able to do and you could feel and see that Ralston was beginning to lose it towards the end but his progression from big fuckin’ hero (his words not mine) to the realisation that the only way to survive would be to amputate was broken up too much by the flashbacks and hallucinations to have any major impact. If all the flashy shots etc were removed from 127Hours I don’t think Franco could have lasted for ninety-four minutes.

There were some nice little touches with a calm Aron taking stock of his inventory and some of the video recordings he made to his family were quite sweet. The Gollum/Smeagol style interview/confession to the video camera shows that Franco is perhaps not a serious dramatic actor and should stick to comedy or find a quirk slightly off camber Brad Pitt style career.

It is common knowledge that in order to survive Aron Ralston had to chop off his own arm and I was prepared for graphic blood splattering horror but instead we got the real life version wherein Aron deliberated for a day or two before making his first half hearted attempt.

They say that in moments of life or death you find out what sort of person you truly are and during his experience in the canyon Aron Ralston discovered that he is the kind of man that will do whatever it takes to survive. I discovered during my time in the canyon that I am the sort of person who will watch a man amputate their own arm without flinching yet will be unable to cope with the sight of the same man drinking a bottle of his own urine. I learned a lot about myself in the canyon.

It is awards season and I think 127Hours should count itself lucky to be nominated in all of the categories it has found itself to be in. It is a good movie and it gets a 7/10 but it is nothing more than a good movie.

On the Danny Boyle scale of awesome movies it ranks much higher than A Life Less Ordinary but it sure as hell isn’t another Shallow Grave.

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