Friday, February 11, 2011

127 Hours

127 Hours (directed by Danny Boyle) is an exercise in filling time until Aron Ralston (James Franco) cuts his arm off with a dull pocket knife. It’s the biographical story of a bachelor hiker, traveling solo in an isolated canyon in Utah, who gets his arm stuck when a rock falls on him. Most of the film is padded out with back story, hallucinations, and swooping camera movements, none of which conceals the fact that this is a static situation, a one act play.

The film, necessarily, presents the amputation as heroic, a sacrifice on the way to adulthood and the hard-won knowledge that, gosh, we really do need other people in our lives. One of Ralston’s hallucinations is a vision of his unborn son. If that weren’t baldly manipulative enough, the point is hammered home at the end of the film by showing the actual Ralston with his present-day wife and son.

The scenery is wonderful and the movie is a showcase for fine acting by James Franco, who manages to carry the film despite its claustrophobic nature and a plot that is all about waiting for something to happen.

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