"Betty Leopard": 127 Hours

Friday, 14 January 2011

127 Hours

Now I really don't watch that many current movies, but I saw 127 hours last night with some friends, and was plesantly surprised with how good it was. I was aware of the premise before I saw it (as I assumed most people were, although my friend Kirstin proved me wrong on that one) and while it seemed like a worthy story to be told I wasn't sure how a feature length film could be made out of a man spending 5 days in a hole. While I don't want to give the game away to anyone else who wasn't aware of what the movie is about, briefly; it's based on the true story of Aron Ralston, a guy who enjoyed running around in the canyons of Utah and one day in 2003 fell down a canyon and got his arm stuck under a rock. Being alone and having told no-one of his whereabouts, the film charts his experiences of being trapped for 127 hours.
James Franco plays Aron in the film, and the vast majority of time is spent with only James on camera. The amount of focus on one character in one setting is the main reason for me questioning how a full length film could have been made out of the story, but both Franso's performance and Danny Boyle's directing actually make for a wonderfully compelling tale of human endurance against the odds. Aron did actually film himself while he was trapped and I have been told that people involved in the making of the film have used these recordings to inform the creation of the movie. While I have no idea what such an experience must be like, Franco captures the range of emotions, ranging from cool, calm logical reasoning to desperate and deranged ramblings and halucinations, whilst maintaining the obvious strength of Ralston's character.
The 'critical scene' (those of you who know the story should know what I mean) is very well done, if not a little graphic and gorey, although not uneccessarily so. The drama, desperation and determination of the experience are very well captured in Franco's acting, the direction and the use of sound, I found it a pretty realistic depiction (again, from someone who hasn't expereinced anything even close). I am a little squeamish and honestly felt a little ill afterwards, but the attention paid to the scene were completely justified, it couldn't have been brushed over or toned down for the sake of delicate audience members.
Aside from the actual film making, I found watching the movie really moving, to think of this real person who went through such an awful expereince and yet remained resilient and refused to give up. I have since watched a couple of interviews with Aron online and I have such admiration for him. Although the chances of getting myself into a similar situation are slim, I know I would not have coped with the situation at all and would have been far too willing to give up hope. I wish I had even half of his strength of character and will power.
While I am always in two minds about recommending films at the cinema, I'm not sure if any films are worth the amount that's charged, this is a film I would recommend you see at some point. When and where is up to you. Overall I'd give it 8 out of 10.
I've never reviewed a movie before so I'm not really sure how this has worked out. Hope I haven't bored you or come across as a pretentious movie-buff (I'm really not).
I will probably post again later, at least I intend to, we shall see.

PS. Still on the movie theme. If you a) don't want to go to the cinema or b) fancy something entirely unrealistic, check out The Men Who Stare At Goats on BBC iPlayer. Ewan McGregor, George Clooney, Jeff Bridges and Kevin Spacey in one movie and a wonderfully fanciful storyline. A bit of a juxtaposition from 127 hours.

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