Published Sep 22, 2010Before anything has a chance to happen in Danny Boyle's 127 Hours, the screen is split in three and images of people going to work or running marathons inundate the frames at rapid speeds. I understand that Boyle has his style, but I want to see him let the action unfold for a change, instead of relying on over-stylized shots to infuse the picture with meaning. Fortunately, this time is different; Boyle has finally found a story that begs for his personal ADD touch.
Forcing an image to jump off the screen is analogous to what protagonist Aron Ralston (James Franco) does with his life whenever the opportunity arises. Anytime the self-proclaimed "adrenaline junkie" can't make that happen, he'd almost rather be alone. He seeks out thrills to elevate himself above the mundane just like Boyle tries to enhance his imagery.
When Ralston gets away from the city and into the peaks and valleys of Blue John Canyon, Boyle slows his pace, allowing the sheer grandness and beauty of the landscape to speak for itself. And speak it does; it asserts itself and its immovable brilliance by reminding man just who's in charge after all, almost swallowing young Ralston whole.
Ralston is a real person and in 2003, he was literally stuck between a rock and hard place when he fell into cavernous gap in the terrain. Franco's journey as Ralston is rarely easy to bear and sometimes just as difficult for us to take. His spirit goes from exuberant to painfully sober to near-delirium and he pulls it off with a strength I'm not the least bit surprised to see.
Boyle lightens the tension with flashbacks that inform us of everything Ralston has to live for, which in turn teaches him a thing or two about how to actually live for it.
127 Hours is a testament to an amazing feat of human endurance and perseverance, as well as an adventure that won't soon be forgotten. (Fox Searchlight)