Written and directed by Danny Boyle
Based on the autobiography Between a Rock and a Hard Place, written by Danny Boyle with Simon Beaufoy
Great film can transcend its subject matter. In many ways, that’s what most filmmakers set out to do. Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours does more than tells Aron Ralston’s survival story, we come as close to living those 127 hours as film makes possible. All of those 127 hours lead to one horrific and amazing moment where the will of human survival is tested and where we come to understand the truest beauty of life itself. The film tells the story of mountain climber Aron Ralston’s adventure into the Canyonlands National Park of Utah and an incredible accident that forces him to battle for his life after a fallen boulder crushes his arm and traps him in an isolated canyon. Trapped, Ralston battles the elements and his own dementia while examining his life to finally discover he has the courage and the wherewithal to free himself by any means necessary.
This cinematic setting of a man trapped inside a canyon seems an unlikely film for Boyle, who is known for his hard hitting visuals and fast moving back drops like Slumdog Millionaire (2009) and 28 Days Later (2003), but in fact Boyle had been pursuing the production of this film for years. Boyle even co-wrote the screenplay with Slumdog screenwriter Simon Beaufoy.
The most surprising thing about this film is the performance of James Franco who carries all the heavy lifting acting during the majority of the film. Sometimes we see him in flashbacks reliving parts of Ralston’s life, good and bad. For the most part the film is just close ups of a trapped Franco, and we the viewers, and against all conventional thinking, it works beautifully.
The film was nominated for six Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Actor (James Franco).
127 Hours releases on DVD today, March 1st, 2011.
Contact the author: JasonAHill@ArtsandEntertainmentPlayground.com