Saturday, 22 January 2011
RE:View: 127 Hours
127 Hours; essentially a movie about one man and a rock, right? Well, no. Not at all, in fact. This is a film about humanity, desperation and survival. It follows the true story of professional hiker, Aron Ralston (James Franco), as he dares to cross the harsh Utah Canyons by foot. But after falling and consequently getting his arm trapped by a boulder, Aron must face a tough decision to avoid impending death...
From the first 30 minutes it's clear that Aron is an egotistic, cocky daredevil without a care in the world. With multi-shot scenes depicting his journey to the canyons by bike and car, along side cleverly placed footage of crowds of people to symbolise Aron's distance from the rest of the world. This sense of loneliness prevails throughout and is incredibly daunting against the vast open canyon backdrop. But it's director Danny Boyle's true merit that he can make you feel for such an otherwise unrelatable character.
However, the films most magnificent achievement is the atmosphere and tenseness felt by the trapped scenes. The close up camera angles really build up that sense of claustrophobia and isolation witnessed in Franco's performance as the struggling protagonist, and it's here that his acting skills really come to light, as it's him that has to carry the next 60 minutes on his own. Every emotion is carefully portrayed as Ralston begins to publicly accept death to his hand held camera over the 127 hours of the ordeal. Through various flashbacks and nightmares, the solitude starts to take it's toll, with paranoia, fear and even irony playing on Aron's thoughts.
Then the turning point comes, the defining moment of the movie; the epiphany. After a gruelling time of drinking his own piss and falling in and out of food deprived conciousness, Ralston finally examines his life and realises that this is all one persons fault; Aron Ralston. Boyle perfectly uses these scenes where Ralston is having vision-esque journeys to lead us into the final act, the last deed of a desperate man's will to live; the amputation. Luckily, Boyle doesn't hang on to the horror of the situation (despite the gore, which actually made someone pass out in the cinema when I saw it) and instead shows it for what it is; painful liberation. And it's this truly captivating scene that sums up the entire movie - a man's struggle to free himself from what is really killing him; himself.
All in all, this is a magnificently well made piece of cinema, blending great acting, superb direction and a truly powerful and compelling real story. The complex themes, underlying metaphors and overall moral proves once more Boyle's diversity and ability to handle such different subject material each time and yet still come out on top. 5/5 Stars.
Note: Go and see it, but if you're squeamish, beware...
So there you have it, my first RE:View. Now, I know it's definitely not perfect, but hey, it's a learning process. I had the Empire review at hand to help me with the structure and what not, just so I could get it off the ground a bit. If you have any comments you'd like to make, feel free, just as long as they are constructive. If you'd like to find more out about Aron Ralston, here's his Wikipedia page if you're too lazy to google him. But that's it for this weeks RE:View, but check back next week where I'll have something different to talk about. Stay safe and stay tuned.