Between a Rock and a Hard Place:
This is the true story of survival against all the odds. The will to live is the driving force behind this movie and viewers will find it an uplifting tale of remembering what's important. Like many people, family and friends can become obsolete compared to our personal wants and needs. It is easy to forget what is truly important in this world and it takes a shock to bring us back to reality. This is true of Aron Ralston, the man trapped for 127 hours by a boulder. Hopefully this film will teach all of its viewers about the importance of appreciating their lives and everyone in it.
Aron Ralston is an adventurous young man looking to have fun any way he can, which includes mountain biking and mountain climbing. Climbing in the mountains of Utah is the only thing on his mind and he is ready for fun. But Aron doesn't realize how important it is to tell someone where he is going. Along the way, Aron meets two young women and shares his time with them. He becomes their guide, showing them the perfect spots for climbing and how to conquer their fears. His pompous attitude about himself is clearly recognized, but nonetheless Aron is a charmer and the young women enjoy spending their time with him. But then Aron and the women part ways and he is back on his own. While climbing down a canyon Aron makes a mistake and slips. The boulder that he was using for climbing also comes crashing down and unfortunately smashes Aron's hand between the canyon wall and the boulder. With no way to move the large rock, Aron is all alone with no assistance and no one knows where he is. Facing the hardest moment of his life, Aron has time to reflect on his life and how he has lived it. He sees all that he regrets and it is almost as painful as the rock crushing his hand. But when Ralston faces his most difficult decision yet, he must come face to face with what it means to really live.
What Knocked It Out of the Park:
This amazing and intense true story is emotionally compelling, telling the story in such a way that it tears at the viewers' heart-strings. This film has so much going on at once, yet it only revolves around one man and his struggles. Danny Boyle has the ability to make the viewer go through Ralston's many phases of suffering and remorse. It is endearing to see him experience different stages of grieving such as denial, submission, humor, regret. At times humorous, the story gives light to Ralston. Boyle is able to make his audience laugh even in the most serious of times. The humor remains ironic and dry, making Ralston seem even more appealing. But the darker emotions are what make this movie simply superb. This drama brings viewers out of their shells, making them watch the deconstruction of the mind and body over time. It is sad, depressing, and lonely and the viewer will feel every motion Ralston experiences. The flashbacks bring tears to the eyes and an emotional connection is made with Ralston at those hard times. The overwhelming feeling of regret is the most predominant emotion displayed. It is unsettling to watch what it does to the mind and soul. Even though it is overwhelmingly upsetting, it is impossible to turn away, which proves to me that it is filmmaking at its best. 127 Hours is one of the most emotionally intense films of the year, teaching viewers the importance of appreciating life and living it to the fullest. This true survival story has skyrocketed up my list of favorite films and it is surely one of the most intriguing survival stories ever told. In addition, I have read in several magazines that the actual Aron Ralston took time to go to the set and make sure everything was accurate and truthful. It obviously paid off and actor James Franco portrayal is an honest and heartfelt look into the struggles of survival.
127 Hours' main star, James Franco, has given viewers one of the most beautiful and expressive performances of the year. Franco completely embodies Aron Ralston and the viewer can tell that he has put his best effort into making this movie spectacular. One noticeable trait is the immediate draw into Franco's eyes. They are full of life and seem ready for adventure, which is an accurate description of the actual Aron Ralston. But after his accident, he seems to dim his eyes ever so slightly but they never lose that boyish charm that makes viewers everywhere care about him. Another evident trait would be Franco's use of his voice. During his struggle, his voice went through many changes. At the beginning, Franco used a loud and energetic voice, showing his adventurous nature. But by the end Franco's voice has become a shell of what it used to be. It is slow and dull, almost like all the life has been sucked out of him. I also enjoyed Franco's use of a sarcastic tone of voice. It was clearly needed to break tension and he succeeded perfectly. Franco barely had anything to go off from other than a boulder and he succeeded in the most professional of ways. He was charismatic, energetic, depressed, and a survivor all in the time span of an hour and a half. He has provided my favorite male performance of the year and it will surely be hard to top his emotional portrayal of Ralston, which is his best acting yet. Other honorable mentions include Amber Tamblyn and Kate Mara who play the two women hikers by the name of Kristi and Megan. Though their screen time was short, it was used to their advantage. Both girls did an excellent job of bringing light into the film. Their active and energetic nature really brought a sense of charm to the film and it flowed excellently with Franco. The chemistry was evident in their acting together and they seemed very comfortable with each other. That chemistry makes the film that much better and I enjoyed every bit of the acting that appeared on screen.
Visually, this film is one of the most beautifully shot films of the year. One of the best parts about this film is the stunning landscape. Though it is a bare land, the canyon is beautiful in and of itself. The way the canyon is shaped and its beautiful curvature and edges are simply breathtaking. Also, the hidden springs are striking. The clear blue of the water is appealing and an absolute joy to watch. Danny Boyle also does an excellent job at showing viewers this massive land, panning over it from above for many miles. But the beauty of the land is the only lovely thing on screen, which brings me to the amputation scene. This was done magnificently and to the upmost perfection. While watching I noticed how realistic and accurate it actually was. Boyle did not hold back, showing viewers the whole ordeal. The blood shown is sufficient and the actual cutting of flesh would be precise. What I found most intriguing and specific was the cutting of a nerve in his arm. The amputation scene was brutally honest and visually accurate.
Director Danny Boyle (of Slumdog Millionaire fame) has made a film that all others should aspire to be. His direction is what really sets the tone and pace of the story. His use of cutting the camera into multiple shots at once is done to the highest perfection and everything seems to fit perfectly together in those shots. This film is very organized, something that I appreciate while watching. It is not a scrambled up mess but it is an excellent example of time management and pace. Boyle has the ability to cut the camera at the appropriate time which leaves the viewer full of tension and anxiety, particularly when Ralston is experiencing the fight to survive until daylight. Boyle's accurate use of pacing is amazing and is told with precision. It is divided into parts, making it easier to understand the time frame Ralston is in. Also, Boyle's use of sunlight is gripping. It is shown moving smoothly in and away from Ralston, who desperately needs it. The use of sunlight made me feel the want for it as well and it despairingly sad when it is gone away from Ralston because it is his only connection to the world above. Boyle had the ability to make me go through these emotions with Franco. It was an emotional and beautiful rollercoaster ride and I have Boyle to thank for it. And much appreciation to the cinematographers for their hard work as well. Their skills were put to good use and it is shown on screen.
What Struck Out:
After the film was over, I sat there thinking quietly to myself about what I had just watched (keep in mind that it is the epitome of a thought-provoking film). I realized then that I enjoyed every bit of what I had seen. I sat and analyzed everything about the film and I came to the conclusion that this was one of those rare films that capture the heart and mind. Everything appears topnotch during my first watching, which is a good sign that the rumors are true and it is a fantastic movie. Nothing struck out in my personal opinion; everything was as it should be and I have no serious complaints.
Does 127 Hours Take the Victory:
By all means, 127 Hours is possibly my favorite film of the year. It is one of the best examples of a survival story that I have ever watched. Not only is it a survival story, it is an inspirational story. This is about surviving against all odds. Being stuck between a rock and a hard place yet making it out and never losing the person he was before the accident. Director Danny Boyle brings this rousing true story to life in such a way that captures the viewers' hearts and minds in a mere hour and a half. His take is a realistic look at Aron Ralston and his struggle between life and death. James Franco breathes new life into Ralston, making him a lovable character that connects with the audience. He uses all his emotions and makes Ralston one of the best characters of the year. The visuals are amazing. Between the beautiful landscape and the gore of amputation, there is no denying that it was visually remarkable. This film will leave viewers with an appreciation of life and their loved ones. It is a story with morals and an important message that can be clearly read. Thanks to the prominent theme of never losing faith, 127 Hours is a moving tale that grabs you up and never lets go.