127 Hours is the true story of mountain climber Aron Ralston’s remarkable battle for survival after a falling boulder crashes on his arm and traps him in an isolated slot canyon in Utah. Throughout his journey, Ralston recalls friends, lovers, family, and the two hikers he met before his accident. Over the next five days Ralston battles the elements and his own demons before discovering if he has the courage and sheer willpower to survive.
Danny Boyle brings to cinemas his follow up film to the successful ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ which was released in 2008. Boyle has a list of excellent films to his name including ‘Trainspotting’, ’28 Days Later’, and ‘Sunshine’. His latest effort is no different, based on the true story of Aron Ralston, ‘127 Hours’ is an emotionally draining, intense, rollercoaster of a film which takes a straight forward idea and weaves it into a compelling film.
‘127 Hours’ has the distinct feeling of a Danny Boyle film from the opening credits which are edited in an exhilarating fashion, to the gritty intensity of the events that unfold on screen accompanied by a score which really lingers well after the closing credits roll.
The film makes great use of scenery throughout, depicting Blue John Canyon spectacularly, effectively conveying the attractiveness of such a location to an extreme sports enthusiast. It employs several interesting camera techniques to really bring the location to the audience from landscape shots to tight angles within crevasses and point of view takes, as we follow Ralston path finding his way through the terrain.
James Franco’s performance is excellent and he continues to impress not only as an actor but in his increasing level of activity behind cameras as well. In ‘127 Hours’ he showcases his well known charm and charisma but also portrays a sheer emotional intensity, desperation and force of will during his battle for survival. Throughout the film Franco maintains a strong presence that really harnesses the attention of the audience.
With very few different locations used in the film, ‘127 Hours’ keeps things interesting through the use of flashbacks, as well as an intense psychological battle that begins to unfold for the central character. The portrayal of delirium is used effectively as the emotional investment built up throughout the film is capitalised on in the final act.
The level of detail used in the film and the emphasis on covering the practical aspects of this fight for survival articulated a sense of realism which works to the films credit, particularly as the conclusion unfolds.
As implied above the score of the film is very effective, it captures the emotion of the events especially in the closing few minutes, and projects the inspiration behind the final outcome over the audience.
‘127 Hours’ isn’t a film for everyone, it is entertaining, intense, gritty and inspirational. Those who know Aron Ralston’s tale will no doubt find this an interesting watch, for anyone who is looking for a tale of the sheer will to survive, ‘127 Hours’ delivers.
I give this film 4 out of 5 stars, it is released in cinemas across Australia on Thursday 10th February.