Danny Boyle is one of our all-time great British films directors. Whether you read that as a statement or a question, there’s no doubt that Boyle has produced an outstandingly diverse body of work.
He’s brought us everything from drug addicts in Edinburgh ([wikipop]Trainspotting[/wikipop]) to horror in space (Sunshine) with a quick segue into family comedy/drama (Millions). So, with 127 Hours he’s now adding true life ‘action’ drama to his catalogue.
The film’s based on the real-life story of mountain climb [wikipop]Aron Ralston[/wikipop] who gets to reflect and re-evaluate his life when he’s trapped by a boulder for 127 hours in a desolate part of Utah. With 127 Hours, Boyle infuses a kinetic energy into his film right from the get go (as he did with Slumdog Millionaire). Much of this should be credited to Composer A.R. Rahman and Cinematographers Enrique Chediak and Anthony Dod Mantle for a memorable soundtrack and cinematography respectively.
Boyle infuses a kinetic energy into his film
[wikipop]James Franco[/wikipop] (Howl, Milk) is Ralston and we’re introduced to him through the flurry of the opening credits which see him escaping the fast pace of the city for the isolation of the desert. He has a brief encounter with two newbie female walkers Kristi (Kate Mara) and Megan (Amber Tamblyn) before blasting off again on his own.
So far, so good you think? Well, actually no. Not long afterwards Ralston slips, falling into the canyon and landing up with his right arm trapped by an immovable object (the infamous boulder). Here begins the 127 hours of entrapment.
OK, so you could think that spending – pretty much – the whole of a film with just one character in one confined space would be a terrible idea. Well, it’s not. For starters, Franco is excellent and balances the shifts from the dramatic to the darkly humourous moments with flair. The pieces when he videos himself in a fake TV interview and leaving messages for his family are some of the most memorable of the film. He’s also completely believable as someone who at the start of film is a bit of a shit, but through his predicament has the realisation that he must change. Ultimately this leads him to be able to make one of the hardest decisions that a human being could be forced to make.
Franco balances the shifts from the dramatic to the darkly humourous moments with flair
So, let’s move on to that ‘hard decision. There can’t be many people who walked into the cinema not knowing what happens in the story. Hence, the tension is already there is the back of your mind. You know it’s coming but when? When? Oh, but Boyle doesn’t let us off the hook, and he provides us with plenty of moments that send the weaker-stomached amongst us hiding behind our hands/popcorn/jumbo nachos (* delete as appropriate).
When ‘it’ does finally come it’s hard to watch but it’s ultimately rewarding and he’s finally able to escape to get help.
127 Hours is a gripping film which no doubt will prompt you to ask yourself what you would have done in the same situation.
THE DANNY BOYLE COLLECTION
THE JAMES FRANCO COLLECTION