Rating: MA 15+
Release Date: 10 February 2011
127 hours is based on the true story of Aron Ralston (James Franco) an avid mountain climber/biker and his fight for survival after becoming pinned by a boulder while on an outdoor adventure in Utah in 2003. The film is based on Aron Ralston’s autobiography Between a Rock and a Hard Place with the screenplay co-authored by Simon Beaufoy and the film’s director Danny Boyle.
Prior to his predicament he meets hikers Megan McBride (Amber Tamblyn) and Kristi Moore (Kate Mara) and spends time with them before venturing out on his own. On becoming trapped he begins reviewing his past relationships particularly with ex-girlfriend Rana (Clemence Posey) and his father (Treat Williams).
This is an amazing piece of storytelling and direction as it revolves around a guy pinned to one spot and unable to move for five days. To try and make the content of this film palatable and watchable is an extraordinary feat. Danny Boyle(Slumdog Millionaire) achieves this with use of flashbacks, dream sequences, attention to small details, whilst music and humour are used effectively to break up the despair and darkness and give the audience a reprieve occasionally. Boyle also splices in video cam recordings to change the focus or visual look even though we are looking at the same scene, just from a different perspective. The use of upbeat boppy music is used with good effect to bring some lighter tones and create breathing space, Boyle is truly masterful.
James Franco’s (Spiderman 3) performance is brilliant as he runs the gamut of emotions in this 94 minute piece. He also features in approximately 90% of the scenes and overcomes this difficulty by holding you mesmerised the whole time, simply amazing. You ride his emotional wave from wild abandonment, shock, denial, regret, despair and acceptance part of which is captured on a video diary to his parents. It’s like watching Kubler-Ross’ 9 stages of grieving played out over 127 hours. Boyle has a real flair for understanding the human condition, the frailties but also the inner strength, resilience, instinct and desire to survive as demonstrated in Slumdog Millionaire.
If you can stomach the gruesome content which mainly centres on a three minute sequence shot fairly realistically and apparently with the help of medical professionals. Even if you can’t watch this harrowing scene, just avert your eyes as the other 99% is well worth viewing and the human desire to live at all costs is uplifting and joyous. The scenery in Utah was surprising spectacular and revealing and well shot by cinematographers Anthony Dod Mantle and Enrique Chediak .