Danny Boyle expands his lens by shrinking his focus. “127 Hours” is the claustrophobic story of brash young thrill-seeker Aron Ralston who gets pinned to a boulder in an isolated Utah canyon and the ‘127 hours’ that follow until his horrifying heroic escape. After “Trainspotting”, “28 Days Later” and his Oscar-winning “Slumdog Millionaire”, Boyle pumps life and adrenaline into what could have turned out to be a dull documentary.
With zippy camerawork and A.R. Rahman’s thumping music Boyle depicts adrenaline-junkie Ralston as he’s wildly biking, mounting rocks and sliding down crevices. Ralston is the loner mountaineer who needs no one but guides novice climbers. He shows off his daredevil ways to a pair of female hikers. He has the confidence of ten men and plenty experience but he makes some painfully serious mistakes. He didn’t tell anyone where he was going or the dangers he could be in, he didn’t take his Swiss army knife and he went all alone miles away in a desert. It’s all wonderfully tied in with the script as he later recalls, hopes, regrets and even hallucinates about them.
It’s a one man show and James Franco is one hell of an actor. From humour to fear to love to hope to terror back again and then to finally see the inevitable, Franco’s natural flair as the cocky, restless yet intelligent climber will have you captivated.
But the question to be asked in this survivor story is that would you have the guts to chop of your arm? Extreme measures! Grit your teeth as certain scenes maybe an endurance test for you too. This movie is definitely not for the weak hearted. Not only does Ralston evade death by dehydration, starvation, and exposure but also sets himself free.
Don’t miss this one for Boyle’s flashy, hyper-kinetic filmmaking style that will make your blood rush as you experience onscreen Ralston’s terrifying ordeal and Franco’s tour-de-force performance that’s bound to make a mark this awards season.