Today: May 29, 2024

127 Hours

A personal and universal insight into man’s determination to survive, brought to stunning life by Danny Boyle and James Franco.

A personal and universal insight into man’s determination to survive, brought to stunning life by Danny Boyle and James Franco.

Having won the Best Director Oscar for his stunning work on Slumdog Millionaire (2008) Danny Boyle had his pick of projects. He could have made a film about almost anything he wanted and given his track record that was almost a certainty. At one point a certain 007 came calling but his eventual choice of project managed to leave most people asking what he was up to? After all, what could you say in a little drama about a man who cuts his own arm off that is not covered on a grander scale in films like the aforementioned Millionaire and Trainspotting (1996)? Ever the visual and narrative pioneer the answer, in Danny Boyle’s case, is; A lot.

Based on Aron Ralston’s true-life book ‘Between A Rock And A Hard Place’ we follow Ralston (Franco) on what he thought would be another fun escapade through canyon country. However, while descending a crevice a loose boulder slips and pins Ralston’s arm against the canyon wall. Trapped and unable to move Ralston must conserve his water and hope that help will come for him. While he waits he begins to look back over his
life and will eventually make the ultimate decision.

Straight out of the gate 127 Hours is a hugely kinetic experience. Considering much of the film sees Ralston routed to the same spot it is staggering just how much infectious energy pulsates from every scene. With an opening montage of people in over populated cities it is apparent that this is merely a tapestry to which the story is starkly removed. From then on it is a breakneck ride to Ralston’s eventual ‘prison’ and there is no single frame that Boyle does not instill with
hidden subversion and meaning.

One moment we are inside Ralston’s water supply, as the life giving liquid is recklessly guzzled before the accident, or basking in the open blue skies of the dessert before the walls close in. Indeed the film before Ralston is trapped is bathed in colour, vibrant and exuberant, but once that boulder falls a grey wash sweeps over the spirit of the piece.

In playing with the audience to such an extent Boyle places us firmly in the head of Ralston. We live and breathe every high, every low, every victory and every despair. Few directors allow their camera to be as liberally used as Boyle does and yet it is never style over substance. Rather substance expressed through intelligent styling. Whether we’re close in on Ralston’s foot as he desperately tries to retrieve his dropped knife or inside his arm as the blunt tip gently caresses
the bone, we are intrinsically entwined with this character.

Of course all of Boyle’s magic would have been wasted if it were not for the talents of the man he cast as Ralston. Boyle was not convinced Franco was right for the role until he saw him in Pineapple Express (2008). Always sure Franco could play serious is was only when he saw him in a comedic performance that he was sold. This is essential to 127 Hours as Franco is the only character we ever spend time with. Rarely is he off camera and as such Franco holds the film together with a performance marked by its staggering range and cohesion to the story. Indeed he manages to express every emotion going while never losing his cocksure swagger and cheeky grin. It is this grin and humour in the face of such adversity that makes Ralston all the more attractive to us.

127 Hours is evidence of the staggering theory of film as a collaborative art form. Everything in it from music, editing, cinematography, script, direction and performance all combine to form a wonderfully harmonious symphony of emotions. Come the climatic crescendo of the film you will find yourself gasping for breath and suppressing a well-earned tear. Rarely are films so life affirming as 127 Hours.

To Order 127 Hours On DVD Click Here Or On Blu-Ray Click Here

Marcia Degia - Publisher

Marcia Degia, who has worked in the media industry for more than 20 years, is the Publishing Editor of KOL Social Magazine. See website:

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