Media Partners | Contributors | Advertise | Contact | Log in | Saturday 28 January 2023

Review: 127 Hours


Share This Article:

Two years on from his multi-Oscar winning 'Slumdog Millionaire', Danny Boyle again uses his visionary style to bring this harrowing true story of human endurance and survival.

127 HoursIt's the true story of Aron Ralston – a larger than life mountain climber and canyoner who, after dislodging a bolder in a desert cavern, becomes trapped. His arm is wrapped between a rock face and an immovable boulder that leaves him with limited resources stranded and dying for 127 Hours . Many directors would struggle with such a simple and slow-paced narrative. Fortunately for us, Boyle is a master story-teller; he gradually unravels the story of this one man being stuck into an escalating human drama of discovery leading us to appreciate, as cliché as it sounds, 'the finer things in life'.

Ralston is played by James Franco – an actor who has often shied away from the limelight playing a list of supporting characters in films such as Spiderman, Pineapple Express and the award winning Milk in 2008. However it's clear where his priorities lie for this part of his career; turning down a part in hit film Inception, he decides to become the one man show. Ralston is a complex character who ignores calls from his relatives to go out and cycle and climb in what he calls his 'second home' – the rock formations and canyons of Utah Desert, USA.

The story begins with Ralston showing us the adrenaline junky he is; he bikes for miles in the hot sun trying to beat a time, he falls off his bike then laughs, and after meeting two female hikers, he becomes a self made adventure guide leading them to the secret spots of the expansive rock landscape such as a hidden water cavern which they continue to dive into. It's only when he leaves them and makes his way back home when the pivotal moment of the film happens. Falling and getting his arm stuck against a giant boulder, the cocky adrenaline junky is left to rue his ignorance as he lies trapped, with a crushed arm, in a cavern miles away from where anyone would ever find him.

It's there where the story really begins. From the directors point of view there are obvious restrictions on narrative scope, having a tiny setting of a cavern and a cast of approximately – one person. However, as was brilliantly illustrated in last year’s Buried  using an intimate setting and one character can, with the right direction, have an innovative impact.

Boyle expertly hones in on an emotional performance from Franco which drives the film. We see flashbacks and hallucinations that sometimes appear blunt (such as the sudden introduction of his girlfriend), but are ultimately necessary to draw us into Ralston’s troubled psychological state whilst trapped. At the centre it's Ralston's drive to survive that steals the show as we see the once arrogant canyoner show us his vulnerability in the face of mother nature. A compelling performance, Franco will surely be amongst the award nominations this year when the best actor list is drawn out.

Ultimately, Danny Boyle's 127 hours is a lesson in film making; it is a vast departure from the pomp of Slumdog Millionaire, and illustrates his depth as a film-maker.

Here we see a story of equal pace with just one character and setting. In a tiny canyon with one man trapped dying, a story of universal volume and scope is yielded by James Franco's desperation to survive in this world. At times it may appear blunt, but in the end you will be left with a feel good attitude. I don't want to tell you how he escapes – just that it has caused seizures and fainting in previous viewings.... enjoy!

Articles: 29
Reads: 196987
© 2023 is a website of Studee Limited | 15 The Woolmarket, Cirencester, Gloucestershire, GL7 2PR, UK | registered in England No 6842641 VAT # 971692974