Review: 127 Hours

Danny Boyle’s latest offering 127 Hours, follows the true story of climber Aron Ralston (James Franco) and his entrapment by a boulder in the Utah Mountains. During his time trapped, Ralston’s back story is told through a series of emotive flashbacks and video camera footage.

Boyle’s direction is spot on and really captures the claustrophobic nature of Ralston’s plight, through limited camera use and positioning. Boyle has carefully avoided the trap of making this a dry sob story and has instead presented us with a funny, emotional and strangely feel-good film. Particularly striking is the ‘flood sequence’ showing the thoroughly dehydrated Ralston, literally dreaming of being swept away from his prison by a flood of rain.

Franco’s performance is one of the finest of his career, we can clearly see the character is not some sort of unbelievable action man and Franco shows he’s a real person – he falls of his bike, he gets back up. That said, Ralston is an incredibly quirky character, entertaining enough to make the 94 minute run time fly by. Given the scale of the role, and the idea that the film is pretty much a single character feature – Franco carries it extremely well. We genuinely have a connection to the character at the end, we want him to get out.

Boyle’s music choice is particularly apt, with Free Blood’s ‘Never Hear Surf Music Again’ capturing the contrast between busy urban life and Ralston’s rural playground. Bill Wither’s ‘Lovely Day’ and Plastic Bertrand’s ‘Ça plane pour moi’ are both well used, adding to the feel-good nature. A. R. Rahman & Dido’s closing track ‘If I Rise’ is a little too Slumdog and is a bit in your face emotionally.

While this is certainly worth a watch, it falls short compared to a lot of the latter films of 2010. Oscar success? Well who knows…

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