127 Hours (2010)

Directed by Danny Boyle
Written by Simon Beaufoy & Danny Boyle

The film brought to you by the director, writer, producer, and composer of Slumdog Millionaire, that film that captured mine, and many others’, heart two years ago. The team is back to tackle the amazing true story of Aron Ralston, a hiker/adventurer who, while on a trip by himself, encounters quite a problem, and must endure 127 hours of isolation before finally succumbing to the inevitable. The film has one actor, James Franco, and that is all you need. Well, truth be told Amber Tamblyn (House & Joan of Arcadia), Kate Mara (Shooter & We Are Marshall), and Clemence Poesy (Harry Potter[Fleur Delacour]) are also in it, but when the movie is about one man’s isolation, let’s be honest, Franco is the only one in it.

The film may sound like it lacks any real suspense or ability to hold an audience for an extended period of time, being about a mad trapped in isolation. Well you would be right, but only some of the times. The film runs at only 93 minutes, but as I expected going in, it did fail to grab me for the full runtime. Most of it was very compelling and very unnerving. You feel for a guy trapped, maybe by his own stupidity, maybe by his own struggle to find himself. We are all humans and our existence is something we all think about. Existential film is something that also has my support and attention and Danny Boyle presents that here.

James Franco is magnificent alongside Boyle in being able to evoke that feeling of hope in the human spirit. Hope is a theme that Boyle seems to be enamored with, investigating it in more than one of his films. Ralston’s contemplation of his life throughout these 127 hours is harrowing and really made me think. At the same time, Boyle’s style, at times, became too much over the simple, contemplative nature of the rest of the film. And the same can be said with AR Rahman’s score. At times, both of these aspects really work. When Ralston craves a cola, or dreams of a thunderstorm, it is marvelous, but other times, I could do without the flash and pizzazz of Boyle’s camera.

The scene with the other hikers Ralston meets before his demise is wonderful. And Franco very well could get nominated for his performance and I would not complain. This is a very good movie, and perhaps it will even improve with multiple viewings, but as it stands, I cannot say I saw a complete film. It was too incongruent at times, and too tiring at others. Boyle is a good director capable of making great films. He has a unique and interesting vision, glimpses of which we receive here. But he fails to complete what might have been his intellectual, existential masterpiece. All in all, still better than most.

Written by Adam Kuhn

Adam Kuhn was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, where he attended Saint Charles Preparatory School. He studied History at the University of Cincinnati, where he was a contributor of The News Record, the twice-weekly, independent student news organization. He has been writing film reviews and blogging since 2009.

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