Thursday, 28 July 2016
127 Hours (4 Stars)
I decided to watch "127 Hours" after watching "Steve Jobs" for the second time last month. Danny Boyle has made two utterly brilliant films in recent years, "Slumdog Millionaire" in 2008 and "Steve Jobs" in 2015. I wanted to see what he did between these two films. He made "127 Hours" in 2010 and "Trance" in 2013. I remember the advertisements for "127 Hours" when it was in the cinema, but I didn't realise it was directed by Danny Boyle, so I ignored it. Somehow "Trance" passed me by completely. I never even noticed it. That's two gaping holes in my film knowledge that I needed to fill as quickly as possible. Okay, it should have been a lot quicker than six weeks, but I think that my move from England to Germany is a good excuse for the delay. I hope so.
The film is the true story of the foolhardy American rock and cave climber Aron Ralston. In April 2003 Aron went on holiday alone to Blue John Canyon in Utah, without telling anyone where he was going. He was a loner and needed time for himself, but he himself later admitted that he should at least have told his family where he was. While descending a canyon a rock was dislodged, which fell and trapped his right arm. He was trapped, unable to move, a few feet above the floor of the canyon. All his attempts to free his arm failed, and he soon ran out of food and water. He was trapped in this position for days. To be precise, he was trapped for 127 hours, as the film's title tells us.
The film is even more claustrophobic than "Buried", a similar story of a man being trapped alone. A problem with "Buried" is that there are occasional long shots, giving the impression that the coffin is larger than it is. In "127 Hours" the cinematography is more realistic. This makes it more terrifying. Supposedly people fainted, vomited or had panic attacks when they saw it in the cinema. I can understand that. The film's realism makes it difficult to bear.
"127 Hours" was nominated for six Oscars, but won none. I think James Franco deserved an Oscar as Best Actor. This was the performance of his career. I would have given the film five stars, but I too had problems watching it. Some of the details of Aron's escape were so horrifying that I almost turned away. Next time I watch the film I'll have a glass of wine in my hand to calm myself down.
It's a brilliant film. If you have a better stomach for realistic violence and claustrophobia than me it might become one of your favourite films.
This is James Franco with the real Aron Ralston. There is a certain resemblance, although Aron is slightly taller.