127 Hours (2010)
An adrenaline high that pushes the boundaries of patience, mortality, and extremeness. “127 Hours” is a biographical-drama that is anything but easy to watch. Confined to a crack in a vast desert and the innermost thoughts and emotions of a doomed individual. “127 Hours,” without any doubt, is a severely draining experience. However, regardless of its morose and heartfelt tendencies, this expressionistic piece rewards just as often as it takes. As always, director Danny Boyle offers some immaculate, stunning, and at times stomach-churning visuals to accompany his flare for the dramatics. Delightfully atmospheric, airy, and elemental. Boyle’s “127 Hours” is an entrancing piece that is arguably the illustrious director’s most complete and honest film to date. Provoking an array of colourful reactions and breathtakingly tingling to every sense, “127 Hours” is a true masterpiece.
Aron Ralston (Franco) prepares for a day of biking and hiking through Utah’s Canyonlands National Park. After biking for a while, Aron meets Kristi (Mara) and Megan (Tamblyn), two hikers who are apparently lost. The three stick together and end up doing a blind jump into an underground body of water. Soon after, Aron is invited to a party by Kristi and Megan, then parts from the girls. Continuing on his adventure alone, Aron soon finds himself stuck in a life-threatening situation with seemingly no escape.
The build-up before the accident, let alone the nauseating climax is exhausting. While watching “127 Hours,” from start to finish, there is a constant fear of inevitability that tugs incessantly at the viewers reflexes and Boyle knows this and uses it as somewhat of a tiring agent. This effect works in brilliant contrast to the alarming, persisting melancholic visions, beautiful visuals, and paced self-brutality. Not to mention A. R Rahman’s outstanding score that ranges from deviously haunting, decidedly up-beat, and splendidly resplendent. Everything about Boyle’s “127 Hours” flourishes and acts as an intoxicant that poisons the viewers physical and mental bodies in the most exuberant, best way possible. It might be a bit too claustrophobic or detailed for some, to say the least. Yet, if you can power through, “127 Hours” is a rewarding cinematic experience.
Just because “127 Hours” has a relatively small cast and bit parts, doesn’t mean that the roles and the actors who characterize them perform inadequately, actually it’s quite the contrary. “127 Hours” stars the impeccable James Franco, the exquisite Amber Tamblyn and the radiant Kate Mara. Tamblyn and Mara only appear on screen sparsely, however their affect on the film is monstrous. Exuding the energy and care-free lifestyle of young, ambitious sightseers, Mara and Tamblyn perform perfectly. I’d give the slight advantage to Mara, simply because I am smitten with her. As for James Franco, who I feel should’ve won an Oscar for this role, is truly remarkable. Every minute of his performance is outstanding. Whether he is flipping through memories, gazing into the future, or dissecting his own body, Franco completely delivers.
On a personal side-note, I saw this film for the first time at its premiere during the Toronto International Film Festival. Danny Boyle and the entire cast was in attendance, including Aaron Ralston. Upon hearing of his real-life struggles and memories regarding being stuck in the canyon, the film resonates so much more. Hearing Boyle and cast discuss filming and trials and tribulations that accompanied such a difficult shoot, I grew to appreciate “127 Hours” with an unparalleled depth.
Infallibly filmed and performed, “127 Hours” is immaculate in every sense of the word.
127 Hours: 9 out of 10.