127 Hours poster

127 Hours

wogma rating: Beg or borrow, but do watch (?)

quick review:

Aron Ralston is stuck under a boulder for 127 hours. This movie shows the ordeal that he goes through and his desperate attempts to survive. Being a true story, it is very inspirational and unnerving. Brilliant camera work, and excellent acting by James Franco make this one a good watch. Though some sequences may make you want to leave, because of the nudge that the flashbacks give you.

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Director: Danny Boyle
Running time: 94 minutes
Categories: Oscar Nominations
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This article is by guest author Shweta Karwa. Shweta is studying engineering in Chemical Technology at UDCT, Mumbai. You can find her on twitter as @intelshwets

Mountain climber Aron Ralston gets pinned against a rock wall in a canyon in Utah for 127 hours, and his now famous feat for survival is captured in this film. The story is practically unbelievable until you hear that it is real, from the book “Between a Rock and a Hard Place” by Aron Ralston himself. It is about a life-or-death experience that one man goes through, and the courage and determination that he shows to keep himself sane through it. This is a man who believes in life, and knows that a body can do anything to survive.

It is natural to have high expectations from Danny Boyle after his Oscar for Slumdog Millionaire. And true to his commitment and hard work, he gives us a film that leaves us thinking. It is a story not of a hero, but of a survivor. Screenplay is a wee bit stretched, but that really does build up the tension. Music is good, but we have certainly heard better from Rahman.

The absolutely brilliant cinematography by Enrique Chediak and Anthony Dod Mantle might as well get them an Oscar. It is the best part of the movie, apart from the captivating reality of the story, of course. The direction of photography is used to a very exciting effect, even after being confined to a tiny place with a literally unmovable man. Smart editing and the use of split-screen to present the adrenaline really worked. And the top views of the canyon to show the scale of operation are simply stupendous.

James Franco does an excellent job as a hiker who loves the canyon and desert. He came off as a complete surprise to me, because I had only thought of him as Green Goblin’s cute son in the Spiderman series. Here, he is a thrill seeker who gets stuck in as bad a position as one can get into, where he has all the time to introspect and come out on the other side - a changed man. It is outstanding how Franco makes you feel the pain, the frustration, the hope, the disappointment. Every line on his face tells the story as he immerses himself in the role. Better still is the fact that the film almost entirely casts only him, and yet he manages to not bore the audience. In fact, there are scenes which bring goose bumps.

Obviously, the film is overwhelming. I couldn’t sit through it in one go - had to take a break and come back. It could be because I couldn’t bear to look at the helpless situation, or it could be because the movie was not captivating enough. The gore – yes it does have big share of it (nothing outrageous though) – is still tolerable. What is not is the constant reminders of loneliness and hallucinations that are shown. I have no doubt that such circumstances could have the same effect on me, but it still is not very pleasant to watch.

The flashbacks poke you, which makes you believe the film more and more with each scene. Though there was a lull in the flashbacks that Ralston takes you through, it still makes a good build up to what the film says in the end. It is more about a man’s invincible will to live than his unthinkable act for survival. I loved the way Boyle has made the film emotionally inspirational and about the values of life as against making it look like Saw.

If you can’t take a little gore or can't watch continuous mental pain another person is going through, you’d rather not watch it. Else a must watch, and on the big screen for better impact.

This article is by guest author Shweta Karwa. Shweta is studying engineering in Chemical Technology at UDCT, Mumbai. You can find her on twitter as @intelshwets

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3 readers - 3 yays 0 so-so 0 nays

Yay! Thumbs Up, by 127hrs : Amazing!

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Casad Vance : Having seen Franco in a number of roles recently I was skeptical... But he really pulled it off

Yay! Thumbs Up, by JJ : A thread developed into a beautiful film. Kudos to Boyle and Franco.

This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.