127 Hours (2010)
Directed by: Danny Boyle
Running time: 94 minutes
Welcome to my first review! Basically I shall aim to post one of these once a week (or more I guess if I see another film during the week I feel compelled to rant about) so you can look forward to a weekly dose of objective film opinions plastered over the internet!
Now Showing this week is the film 127 Hours which opened here in Australia a few weeks ago. It was directed by Danny Boyle, one of my personal favourites, who made such other films as Slumdog Millionaire, Sunshine, 28 Days Later and Trainspotting. The film tells the true story (there’s a point towards it winning an Oscar tonight, it’s a true story!) of mountain climber Aron Ralston, portrayed in the film by James Franco, who was out on a weekend trip to traverse an isolated canyon system in Utah, when one slight error of judgement caused a rock to fall onto his right arm and trapped him in a small cave. And for those of you who are good at logical deduction, you’ll have figured out that he’s stuck there for, yes you guessed it, one-hundred and twenty-seven hours. And those of you who read about this incident in the newspapers back in 2003, you will also know that he had to sever his right arm with a blunt, multi-tool knife to escape!
Now I know what a lot of you are thinking: “94 minutes of some guy in a cave where he can’t move or do anything ’cause his arm got stuck? That’s so lame, let’s go watch Twlight again!”. I really hope you’re not thinking that, because that automatically makes you a cretin. This film is far superior to Twlight (you’ll fast learn how much I hate The Twilight Saga and due to it’s popularity I will probably make more jabs at people choosing it over, you know, proper cinema!) due to the fact that not only does it acknowledge that it’s leading male character is an arrogant douchebag, but through his determination to survive and epiphany-like experience in the cave, he acknowledges this to himself and he changes as a person. The main character actually has a “character arc” (as they call it in the biz) and has changed and developed by the end of the film unlike any of the one-dimensional, expressionless morons associated with Edward Cullen.
One thing you will notice about me over the course of this blog is that I have an intense love of films that can take place with minimal characters present, in a single location, and can hold my attention and be thrilling throughout. 127 Hours is no exception, as not only does it contain a thrilling and realistic situation in the cave, but it also contains Ralston’s hallucinations and flashbacks to further develop him and the change he is going through. Some of these moments are beautiful, some are sad, and some are terrifying (there’s one moment involving Scooby-Doo which is fantastic, now tell me you’re not interested!).
Not only is the situation Ralston has found himself in thrilling but it also wonderful to physically watch. The camera work is very interesting, and never boring. The introductory scenes features wide swooping shots of the Utah mountains inter-spliced with many little frames of society events like a soccer game and a train station. This sets up just how isolated Ralston really is from the people in the little frames, and how arrogant he was not to tell anyone where he was going. But when we get into the cave, the camera work is tight and never truly on center which made it feel like we were crammed in there with him. There was also the occasional very random shots of things like inside his water bottle (and one shot involving urine, it was wonderfully disgusting!) which kept things new and fresh. I shan’t say anything on the actual arm cutting, that’s better left as a surprise as to how it’s done.
I will be interested to see how 127 Hours prevails in the Oscars tonight, as while I felt it was an excellent film, but I don’t think it’s the kind of movie that those Academy types go for. Having said that, it was a hell of a lot better than The Fighter and Danny Boyle should be proud of that. See you next time!