Every second counts
A story of one man's will to survive. According to Fox Searchlight, "127 Hours" is the true story of mountain climber Aron Ralston's remarkable adventure to save himself after a fallen boulder crashes on his arm and traps him in an isolated canyon in Utah. Over the next five days, Ralston examines his life, and survives the elements by gaining the courage and the wherewithal to extricate himself by any means necessary, scale a 65 foot wall and hike over eight miles before he is finally rescued. Throughout his journey, Aron recalls friends, lovers, family, and the two hikers he met before his accident. Will they be the last two people he ever had the chance to meet before his impending doom? Or will he summon the strength to do that which is necessary to survive such a feat?
"127 Hours" isn't for the faint of heart, but it's definitely a thought provoking film about one man's will to survive the elements. Aron is just your average guy that loves mountain climbing, and the thrill of danger. However, he soon finds himself in a position where he must be willing to do anything to survive. In a lot of ways, this film reminds me of Ryan Reynold's "Buried", where both protagonists are forced into a situation where timing is not only of the essence, they both struggle for their survival within such a closed environment.
However, unlike "Buried", where the focus on our main protagonist's struggles for survival lies within an isolated environment. "127 Hours" tends to focus more on the character's psyche during their struggle for survival, as he reflects on his life during these series of hallucinations when his water supply runs dangerously low. Forcing him to even save and drink his own urine to survive, as he remains trapped by the rock that crushes his arm. It's through these various hallucinations that the audience learns a bit more about Aron's past, as we learn about some of his missed relationship opportunities and his regrets in life. Pondering what many of us probably would if we were in the same situation, as Aron reflects on many of his relationships with his family and ex-girlfriends in the past. Wondering if he'll ever have a chance to make things right, or if he'll see his family and friends again. Things that many of us can relate to if we were forced into the same situation.
What I loved most about this film was the deep introspective into Aron's psyche through these hallucinations, as it allows us to probe into our hero's doubts and fears. Something that resonates highly well in the movie, as Aron is finally forced to summon the strength to extricate himself when all inevitable hope seemed all but lost.
Danny Boyle does a superb job using the intense atmosphere of the environment to create the tone for the rest of the film. With the brilliant use of split screen cinematography to show off the city lights, at the beginning of the film, it symbolically represents Aron's carefree fast paced adventurous life; craving the thrill of adventure and excitement. Only to later on in the film show the intense heat and cruel elements of the environment take it's toll on him, as he's forced into a dire situation when he becomes trapped by the fallen rock on his arm. This not only allows for the viewer to feel a great deal of sympathy for our main protagonist, it also allows us to easily see the transition between him going from a cocky young mountain climber to a man desperately struggling to survive.
As for James Franco, he deserves a round of applause, as he was certainly at the top of his game on this one. In fact, I'd be very surprised if the Academy didn't at least consider him for a nomination this year; based on his performance for this film as lead actor.
Overall, I would have to give this film a solid three and a half out of four. Some of the scenes around the ending might be a bit disturbing to viewers with weak constitutions, but it's definitely worth seeing.