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127 Hours

June 19, 2013

127 Hours (2010)
Director: Danny Boyle
Actors: James Franco, Kate Mara, Amber Tamblyn

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Synopsis: Aron Ralston (James Franco) gets trapped in a Utah canyon when he slips down a crevice and his arm is crushed by a boulder. Over the course of five days, Ralston tries desperately to escape…

Review: The sheer engrossing raw material of 127 Hours means even the most shallow of treatments would still contain some basic lure and watchability. That said, Danny Boyle’s hyper-kinetic cinematic vision for 127 Hours feels more than a little inappropriate and shallow. For sure, Boyle is trying to represent the core adrenalin-filled spirit of outdoor pursuitsman Aron Ralston, and how that comes to a dramatic, visceral halt when his very energy and being is trapped by a falling boulder. But, to me, the story should be about the attrition and inner spiritual journey of Ralston, rather than watching Boyle flog the cinematic medium for 90 minutes trying desperately to obfuscate the static running-time and fast-track some pathos for Ralston; ironically, it’s there inherently in the situation anyway. The scene where Ralston play-acts a talk-show interview of his situation is a particularly crude and transparent theatrical device designed to leak a little treacle into the film’s rhetorical confection.

The film is best when it trusts its scenario and focuses on the plausibly haunted and fatigued face of James Franco. For when the moment ultimately dawns on Ralston (huge spoiler alert) that the only way out is through the shocking, but incredibly brave, act of severing his right arm – it’s the silence and loneliness of the piece that has got us to this point, not Boyle’s “throw everything at ’em” directorial cocktail. (June 2013)

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