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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Movie Review: 127 HOURS


You can watch the trailer here

I first saw 127 Hours about two months ago at an early screening. Due to a confidentiality agreement, I was unable to blog about the film until its official release on November 5th; however, I wanted to see the movie one more time before applying any opinion towards it. Ladies and gentlemen, that moment has finally arrived.

The film tells the true (and it seriously is true) story of Aron Ralston, backpacker and mountaineer extraordinaire. During a backpacking trip through Blue John Canyon in Utah in 2003, Ralston (played by James Franco) missteps and finds his arm trapped beneath a boulder at the bottom of a crevasse. Over the course of the next - you guessed it - 127 hours, Ralston does everything he can to survive, and ultimately escape, from his trap.

It's rare to have a film that just absolutely clicks. Everything in the movie is just about pitch-perfect, and that couldn't have been easy to do considering the subject matter. Let's start with the screenplay. Upon my first viewing, I felt like the screenplay was a little scattered and strange as it delved into the hallucinations associated with Ralston's dehydration. It all seemed a little out of place. However, I've since had time to think about the storyline, and after tonight's viewing, I've definitely come around. It's one of the best views of increasing insanity as a result of such a horrific event. It's so well-written and concise that it's hard not to get drawn in and stay hooked. Danny Boyle, the Oscar-winning director of Slumdog Millionaire, directs the film in a way that only he could.

However, the screenplay would be nothing if our lead can't hold his weight. Franco had to bring his A-game considering he's on the screen for at least ninety percent of the film. And boy, does he deliver. This is the defining role of Franco's young career. I had seen bits and pieces in the past of his acting range (see: 2005's The Great Raid and 2008's Milk), but he has never delivered a performance quite like this. He perfectly conveys the character arc that Ralston goes through from hour one to hour 127. We see his ups; we see his downs. In a word, Franco is absolutely perfect. That's right: PERFECT. If he does not garner an Academy Award nomination, I will be absolutely devastated. It would be a crime against humanity.

Some of you may have heard about the people who needed medical attention while seeing 127 Hours, and the movie is pretty intense (especially our climactic escape). However, it's also emotionally trying; it packs quite the punch. However, I think this movie is a necessary film that needed to be made. You have to remember that it's a true story and that the real Aron Ralston actually suffered the way we see Franco suffer. My friend Sara, with whom I saw the film tonight, first mentioned this sentiment to me. She said that it's a movie that today's generation needs to see because so many people have no idea what a real struggle is. We move from moment to moment, attached to our phones or to Facebook or to other pieces of the 21st century that make us forget about living. Aron Ralston went through five days of hell to have the chance to live. Maybe we all need to be woken up.

Drop what you do and go watch 127 Hours.

Movie Review Summary:
Grade: A
Current All-Time Rank: Best - #81
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