127 Hours is the motivational film of the year that proves nature is unforgiving and shows the powerful strength in human determination. Even with the storyline being very basic, it is still captivating enough to not only keep your attention but also make it memorable. James Franco gives it his all with his performance, setting off well deserved Oscar buzz.
Aron Ralston (James Franco) is an avid thrill seeker that decides to go hiking into the canyons of Utah. He briefly runs into a couple lost female hikers that are lost. He jokes with them and shows them some amazing swimming areas before departing with them. Little does he know, it is the last time he comes in contact with a person for the next 127 hours.
As he is climbing around the canyons, a large rock falls down and pins his arm between canyon walls. He has a very limited amount of supplies for survival including; a water bottle, a little food, rope and a multi-tool. He even had a video camera he brought with, although He immediately begins to try chipping away at the rock to free his arm, but with no success. To make matters worse, he realizes that he told no one where is was going, thus nobody will be looking for him.
It is impossible not to feel empathetic for him. Since he is trapped, he is forced to think about his mistakes he has made in the past. How he is sorry that he did not return his mom’s phone calls and how he wishes he would have brought more liquids to drink. He even creates a faux talk show with himself with the video camera, which is both comical and depressing.
Everything around him is draining; his battery in his camera, the water supply and most importantly his hope of survival. Even the movie poster is shaped like an hour glass as if it were a countdown to his likely death. At one point, he states that his whole life he was drawing him closer and closer to the rock that would eventually trap him in. After 5 days he decides the only way out is for him to cut his own arm off to free him from the large rock.
Undoubtedly, part of what makes 127 Hours so interesting is that it is a true story and how accurate the film is to was actually happened. The real footage of Aron Ralston stuck in the canyon has been restricted to close friends and family members, however, before shooting began, James Franco and Danny Boyle were allowed to watch the footage in order to portray the events in the film accurately.
The most difficult scene to watch in the film was when Ralston has to amputate his own arm. To summon the courage to do that, even in his situation, given the amount of excruciating pain to do so, I feel most people would be unable to do it. The special effects are incredibly realistic and detailed, making it almost hard to watch. Interestingly enough, the scene was done in one take using multiple cameras because they only created one prosthetic arm.
James Franco is simply amazing, working in a very tight space for nearly the entire film by himself. Since there were virtually no supporting roles, he is given the difficult task of carrying on a film alone and does it masterfully. There has not been a role since Tom Hanks in Castaway that done it better. It is a performance that will put him as a serious contender for an Oscar and should win Best Male Lead at the Independent Spirit Awards this year.
Because the film completely straightforward, to keep the audience engaged throughout is a task not easily achieved. Not only was the acting brilliant being is such a confined space with no supporting actors but Danny Boyle gets creative with the camera and special effects to keep it entertaining. 127 Hours is a powerful survival story that ends up being an inspirational statement about choosing to live through willpower.