On Monday, I saw 127 Hours, starring James Franco.
When I heard about the real news story that inspired this film, I was simultaneously repulsed and fascinated. How could anyone cut their own arm off to free their body from a rock? What conditions could be so dire that would leave no alternative?
Director Danny Boyle does a good job of spelling it all out for us viewers using James Franco's convincing talent to mimic what the real Aron Ralston must've endured.
When we meet Aron on-screen, he's a twentysomething adrenaline junkie seeking a Saturday hike in the canyons of Utah. He meets some cute girls, flirts with them and continues on his solo expedition. He jumps and climbs and leaps with reckless abandon. The angles and shots we see when we're experiencing his point of view are so dramatic, I had to wonder how close to danger the camera crew really came.
Very soon after leaving his new friends, a boulder falls during one of his climbs and pins his arm to a canyon wall. The remainder of the movie is his struggle to free his arm and eventually the desperate act of amputating it with a dull knife.
I wasn't sure I'd make it to the film, as I'm the squeamish type, but the buzz surrounding Franco's allegedly Oscar-worthy performance left me too curious to pass it up.
I'm glad I had the courage to go (even if I had to turn my eyes away from some of the most graphic parts) because his acting is first-rate and the story, though spoiled years ago by the nightly news, is still compelling. A man who was careless enough to go on a dangerous hike and not tell a soul where he was headed also turned out to be smart enough to survive—a feat many people probably couldn't have accomplished under the circumstances.
The only drawback for me was the distracting, almost Indian-sounding score that was overbearing at times.
Silence, I believe, can illustrate tense moments better than anything.