Saturday, December 4, 2010

Movie Review- 127 Hours

This year's winter film lineup is definitely redeeming the shitty summer movie season we got a earlier this year, thank god. I'm really looking forward to seeing and reviewing some of the films coming out this month such as Black Swan, True Grit, Tron Legacy and Biutiful. I finally got to see 127 Hours yesterday after weeks and weeks of postponing plans to go and watch it. I was really looking forward to seeing after hearing so much buzz about it during film festival season. It made me sad that I had to make my way out to one of the junky theaters in my area to watch it cause none of the nice ones were playing it. Their loss cause this is one amazing film.

The plot of this movie is really basic- I'm sure most of you have probably heard about this story before this film. Extreme mountaineer Aron Ralston goes out for a hike one weekend in a tiny canyon in Utah. A nice, easy hike soon takes a turn for the worst when a loose boulder falls and crushes his arm, trapping him in a narrow, deep canyon. Aron then spends the next five and a half days there in canyon reflecting back on moments in his life, his family, a past lover, the last two people he met, and a son he envisions to have in the future. The majority of the film is just focused on this one spot in the canyon and the entire movie is really a one man show. You don't see too many movies that focus on just one actor the entire time because it's hard to keep audiences interested. You really need to find the right type of actor to be able to pull it off and I think James Franco did a wonderful job holding the screen for an hour and a half.

An hour and a half of a movie that is focused on one spot sounds kind of boring, but Danny Boyle was wonderfully creative in making a varietal mix of different scenes. I believe he used two cinematographers with extremely different styles to shoot the film who did not consult with one another. He then cut and pasted a blend of the two styles. A lot of the film is also seen through a video camcorder that Aron had with him which he used to document his imprisonment. One of my favorite scenes is when James Franco puts on a fake talk show with his camcorder and takes on two different personalities. There were also many hallucination/dream sequences that felt very real. If you're caught in that limbo between being awake and asleep, these scenes are very much like that. Overall, the style of the film reminded me very much of Danny Boyle's previous film Slumdog Millionaire. It jumps back and fourth, its loud and exciting, colorful, and has a great score that goes with it. Boyle teamed up with A.R Rahman once again for this film and worked perfectly with it.

After seeing the film, I randomly turned on the TV that night and Jay Leno was playing. By mere happenstance, the guest he brought on was the real life hero Aron Ralston himself. During his interview with Jay Leno, he spoke about his time in the canyon and a lot of it matched exactly how the film portrayed it. In the movie, he had with him a a cheap pocket knife which he initially tried to use to chip away at the rock but eventually attempted to cut away at his arm with it; unfortunately the blade was just too dull to get through his bone, especially after chipping away at the rock for so long. Mr. Ralston described the situation to be very much the same. He also did have a camcorder which he used to film himself in the canyon and a small clip of it was played on the show. In the clip, what was said was pretty much verbatim to what was recorded in the film. Even the look of the film looked very much like the actual pictures Aron took of himself in the canyon.

The film also had some delicious piss slurping scenes and Mr. Ralston confirmed that he was indeed drinking his own urine during his five day lockdown. The movie managed to make water look like the most delicious, god given substance on Earth and I no longer wanted the Cherry Coke I was sipping. Towards the end of the movie, we saw a vision Aron had of a young boy which would be his future son and that was the moment when he pulled together all his strength to finally detach his arm. On the Jay Leno show, Aron confirmed that he did have this vision which hit him with a great will to live so he could one day meet this boy. Aron's vision recently came true when he met his wife Jessica who had a baby boy this past February :) The farewell to arms scene is pretty gruesome so, just a warning to anyone with a weak stomach. The worst is when he starts tugging on a nerve that he's having trouble severing.

What I loved about this movie was how beautiful and inspiring it all is. You come walking out of the theater reflecting back on all your loved ones who you've probably taken for granted all your life. For anyone who's ever felt that their life sucks and isn't worth living should watch this movie. It really shows us why life is dear and worth holding on to. A friend of mine refused to come and see it with me because I guess she didn't see what would be so great watching an hour and a half of the same guy stuck in this one spot. Don't let this fact dissuade you from seeing it. It's really an uplifting and triumph of a film gives you a new outlook on life. It makes me wish that there were more people in real life who have the same positive and charismatic personality like Aron Ralston, even when their stuck in shitty situation.

Final Score- 9/10

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