127 Hours

Directed By: Danny Boyle

Starring: James Franco

Mountain climbing and canyoneering are dangerous hobbies, but the thrill seekers of the world don't seem to mind.  They love to explore the wild, untamed parts of the world.  Going into such isolation though comes with risks, and the life of Aron Ralston can show you a great deal about those.  In his memoirs Between a Rock and a Hard Place, he documents his most horrific experience out in the wild and what he had to do to survive.  Luckily for us non-readers, there's a film that brings his recount of this nightmare to the big screen called 127 Hours.

Ralston (James Franco) goes to Canyonlands National Park in Utah to do what he loves, canyoneering.  While navigating through Blue John Canyon above a narrow passage in which boulders are tightly wedged between the walls of the canyon, one boulder loosens, and Ralston falls to the bottom of this passage.  Unfortunately, the loosened boulder falls with Ralston and traps his arm between it and the canyon walls.  Now stuck at the bottom of the canyon, Ralston rations his supplies and does what he can to survive in the faint hope that someone will find him out in this isolated wilderness.  After several days though, the grim reality sets in that he may not survive this calamity, and he comes to a decision to do whatever he must to continue living.  This includes cutting off his right arm to escape the canyon.

127 Hours is a journey to hell and back.  This film is definitely not for everyone.  It's a powerful tale of tragedy and triumph.  It's a thorough exploration of the psyche in the face of a life-threatening crisis and absolute isolation.  It's a film that questions what a person is willing to do to survive and then answers its own question in the most brutal way imaginable.  For director Danny Boyle, this is an interesting and worthwhile follow-up to his critically acclaimed Oscar-winning movie Slumdog Millionaire. He's put together another great work in 127 Hours.

As much as I commend Boyle for his fine work in the film, James Franco deserves a whole lot more credit.  While there are some supporting actors in the film, their roles are tantamount to being extras on set.  127 Hours is really the James Franco Show.  When his character Ralston is stuck between a rock and a hard place in Blue John Canyon, it's just Franco and the boulder on camera.  That's the vast majority of the film.  The fact that James Franco can entertain us for 90 minutes in a monologue is quite impressive.  His performance deserves some serious respect.  Franco has come a long way from his days portraying Harry Osborn in the Spider-Man franchise.  If his acting in this flick is any indication, he's got a long career ahead of him.

Personally, you will never catch me canyoneering out in the middle of nowhere without someone knowing where I am or without a cellphone.  You won’t catch me canyoneering at all for that matter.  That being said, Aron Ralston's tragic experience is a true story, and I respect what Danny Boyle and James Franco have put together in this moving film.  As much as I respect it though, 127 Hours is not a flick I will casually break out to watch on a Saturday night.  It's pretty depressing stuff.  Have some wine coolers with this one because you're gonna need something.  127 Hours gets a 0.03% rating.