Sunday, November 21, 2010

127 Hours

"Bone..." One of the best quotes from Danny Boyle's new movie 127 Hours, uttered by a man running out of options to save his own life. James Franco plays the real life character of mountain climber and adventurer Aron Ralston, who finds himself trapped and isolated in a canyon wall. However, the isolation began long before he was in this predicament and the trapped aspect has now given him time to reflect. 

The realization from Ralston when he attempts to amputate his arm and remembers that the bone is in the way is comical the way Franco delivers the line, but also demonstrates the mechanics of the body and what you are willing to do to survive. Another one of this year's better movies, Buried, has a similar yet different scenario in which the protagonist is stuck in. From the point of view of the narrative Buried was much more difficult to pull off as we commence and finish in a coffin, and we are left speechless and depressed. 127 Hours on the other hand gives us a breath of fresh air and some sunlight with Boyle's direction, Anthony Don Mantle and Enrique Chediak's cinematography, which portrays the open landscape of "canyon land" beautifully. While in Buried our protagonist must rely on new media and cell phones, Ralston had to place his confidence in his shit knife, 300mls of water and a bit of food. What was so clever about Buried was the depiction of how frustrating daily technology can be with low batteries, signal upset, being put on hold etc..., while 127Hours concentrates on the bare essentials.

When Ralston gets his arm trapped between the rock and canyon wall, we recognise his initial reactions as for the average person there has been a time when you are stuck in a predicament that could possibly be life threatening, but it is generally over pretty quickly. Unfortunately for Aron Ralston it isn't just a flash of panic, but a tedious reality that gives him days to reflect on his life. Although we as the audience feel trapped with Ralston we are given commercial breaks (literally in an excellently executed soft drinks advertisement developed in Ralston's imagination) such as flash backs of his family, friends and ex girlfriend. The breaks are really what drives the story because we all know what he has to do to get out of there, but its his memories and imagination that give him the will to do so. 

A humorous and familiar example of Ralston's imagination is his daydream of attending a party that he was invited to by two girls he met a few hours before his fall into the canyon pathway. I thought this was a perfect expression of human nature and thought process, we do it daily when we are at school, work, Church so naturally we would practice it to the fullest if we were trapped. Another very interesting scene was when Ralston is contemplating masturbating to the video he took of the girls before he fell. At this stage Ralston has had a few days to reflect on his life and memories, which he must have considered to be a sacred and pure moment so he restrains himself from doing so. It would be like jerking off on Christmas day, it just doesn't seem right.

Overall, Danny Boyle has made an great movie, not as daring a movie as Buried, but a wonderful portrayal of human nature and reaction in a time of darkness. Visually stunning with ariel shots of the canyons and edited brilliantly, especially during the actual amputation, felt like the whole theatre was on the edge of their seat and THAT SOUND! If you havn't seen it you will defintly here it when you witness 127 Hours.

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