Tuesday, April 5, 2011

127 Hours: A Film Review...

I knew the story of Aron Ralston before this film came out and knew of it well before Ralston's account of his canyon entrapment came out in bookstores (Between a Rock and a Hard Place) and thus came into the film looking more at how the story was portrayed rather than being taken in by the story itself.

Additionally, I have been a long time fan of the director Danny Boyle and a number of his works (Trainspotting, 28 Days Later, Slumdog Millionare and to a much lesser extent, The Beach).  Boyle has covered a wide range of topics and genres and has a fantastic storytelling ability.

127 Hours I would put in with his lesser works.

It is an even, if predictable film that is perhaps constrained by the limited scope of the material.  James Franco as Ralston goes canyoneering, gets trapped, becomes more and more despondent, cuts off his arm, gets rescued.

The story is very linear in that aspect with typical Boyle flourishes of flashbacks and dream sequences that round out various aspects of Ralston's personality.  Unfortunately we have the typical story of someone who has (per the film) pushed others away in order to escape the modern world only to wish he had them back to help him or to spend more time with the ones he loved.  There is nothing here that hasn't been done before and even Boyle's ability to transform ideas and scenes we've seen before into something new and unique is stretched.

Yes, the extreme measures Ralston goes to in order to save himself are amazing, horrifying and grotesque to view on film and Boyle spares the viewer no detail.  The audience comes away with the reasonable question as to if they would be able to complete the same actions Ralston does, even with their life on the line as I'm sure was intended.

I'm glad I saw the film as a fan of Boyle's and a fan of outdoor adventure stories in general.  Unfortunately there isn't much here that you can't get from your typical Saturday afternoon TV matinee.

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