February 2, 2011

Road to the Oscars - 127 Hours

Director: Danny Boyle
Writers: Danny Bolye (screenplay), Simon Beaufoy (screenplay) and Aron Ralston (novel)
Cast: James Franco, Kate Mara, Amber Tamblyn
Music: A.R.Rahman
Production: USA/UK, 2010
Release Date: 4 September 2010
Runtime: 94 Minutes
IMDB Link: 127 Hours


The movie narrates the true story of Aron Ralston, a young mountain climber who had an accident while he was climbing somewhere in the desert of Utah. As he was climbing down in a narrow canyon, he felt and got his right arm trapped between the canyon wall and a rock. He soon realized that the rock was too heavy to move it or to break it.

Over the next five days, the movie shows how his physical and psychological condition deteriorates and what things he does to survive. With only a video camera, climber equipment and some water he manages to take his mind off until he starts losing his head. Around the fourth day, he starts hallucinating and reconsidering his whole life. Finally, he is forced to take a drastic measure to get himself free. This experience will transform Aron´s view of life as he returns home been a very different man.

Review (Warning it may contain spoilers)

From the list of movies nominated for Best Picture, this was the least interest to me, so I decided to see it first and leave the good ones for the end. After seen the first minutes of the film I felt that I was watching a long TV commercial. The great visual scenery, the catchy music, and the great editing build up a good background for the rest of the movie.

However, the real plot kicks in when Aron falls into a narrow canyon and gets his right hand stuck. For the next minutes, we are witnesses of how Aron losses his mind and body to the natural elements. James Franco does a good job in portraying the desperation of a man that realizes his death is near. However, I have to say that his acting could be better; the editing of the film fills the gap left by the actor.

The movie runs smooth, a lot better than I expected. However, the film credibility was lost to me in the scene where the character has to cut his arm off to free himself. The film falls into what I call “the porn-torture” effect, which is the over exposure of human suffering and body torture to produce a strong and shocking effect on the audience. I understand that the director needed to show an amputation but the result was over the top. I strongly believe that you shouldn’t show torture or physical violence on screen to shock the audience.

Because this is based on a true story you can´t expect any plot twist, you already know the end of it. The interesting thing to see in this film is how the Aron manages not to lose his mind and stay with a positive attitude. However, the mayor let down is that audience will find it difficult to connect with the character. The flashback scenes and the parts where he hallucinates about his family and friends were not convincing. I don’t think this is the kind of movie that left us a message for life.

In conclusion, visually it’s great, the scenery of the Utah canyons is beautiful, the music is very good and the editing is different and refreshing. However the plot is linear and there are no surprises.

By Sebastián Nadilo

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