127 Hours (2010)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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About Joseph@thecinemamonster

Aspiring writer who absolutely adores film and television. thecinemamonster.com

Posted on August 6, 2013, in Drama and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 27 Comments.

  1. One of the best, most intense films I have ever seen. Probably my favorite Danny Boyle film. Franco’s best film too. Awesome review, Joseph! 🙂

  2. Very nice!

  3. Great review. One of my favorite movies (and Boyle’s best!) Was a sobbing wreck the first time I watched this.

  4. Excellent review, one of the great things I loved about the film was its loyalty to Ralston’s written account of it. I absolutely loved the book and this film nailed my experience with the book perfectly. Having that extra level of appreciation — and like you said, having seen the guy at the screening and knowing it was real — just makes the movie better. This was actually the movie that made me aware of Danny Boyle.

  5. Great review, dude! 127 Hours is really incredible. The first time I saw it was at my local art theater. It was my first time there and it’s now my favorite theater in the city. The movie left such a strong impression on me that I read the book, watched the movie a few more times (including commentary) and sought out as many Rolston docs as I could find. I was just consumed by the story and fascinated by his will to survive.

    Franco left a really big impression on me too. People like to rag on him and question his ability but 127 Hours earned him a free pass from me. The scene where he “hosts a morning show” is incredible.

    You mentioned the score and I do agree, it is really great. But the best use of music in the movie (in my opinion) is Sigur Ros’ Festival used at the end of the film. It just fits the emotion and power of the scene so perfectly.

    • Thanks Matt so much! That’s awesome you got the chance to catch it at a local art theatre, makes the whole experience that much more memorable. I’m also a huge fan of the book and his story, so incredibly disheartening and motivating at the same time. I was always in love with Franco LOL. His performance here, I feel, should have won him that Oscar. The “talk-show host” scene was really unsettling. My favourite scene might be when he witnesses his future son, just f-ing epic. Completely agree, the ending composition really fit perfectly into the mood and circumstance :).

  6. Very nice review and a very nice rating. I really like this movie. It’s beautifully shot and I thought Franco was fantastic. I’m not always sold on his abilities but man he was good in this movie.

    • Thanks Keith! I’m always caught off guard at how stunning the film actually is, it’s astounding. Yeah, I know Franco throws in a stinker now and then, but he has the ability, so I think that’s why I keep giving him the credit. Did you like his performance in Spring Breakers?

  7. Good review Joseph. It all comes down to Franco and his performance here which, above everything else, is nothing short of brilliant.

  8. Awesome review! Love this movie! James Franco was totally amazing 🙂

  9. I think I’m the only one that thought the film was over-rated. I didn’t like Franco in this at all.

  10. I HATED the last two Danny Boyle movies I watched (Trance & Slumdog). I was going to give up on him but people told me to still give this one a go… :-/

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