Monday, November 22, 2010

Movie Review: "127 Hours" Proves an Intense Time

Mixed review...
With the Flanigans in town for Thanksgiving, we had to take them to an advanced screening!  Big fans of the Lifetime Movie Network, Mr. Ed & Phyllis got to play Siskel & Ebert this time as we took in a showing of 127 Hours.

Just to be up front, our little audience had mixed reviews so this blog has been a little hard to write.

The story behind 127 Hours is not only dramatic, but true.  Starring James Franco, the film is based on the autobiography Between a Rock and a Hard Place of Utah hiker Aron Ralston.  The movie chronicles Ralston's life when in May 2003, he was hiking alone across the Blue John Canyon.  After stepping on a loose boulder, he becomes stuck in an isolated canyon when the rock pins his arm.  Unable to free himself, he sets his watch and waits for help, but slowly realizes no one knows where he is.  With little food and even less water, Ralston only has a few items in his backpack to aide him.  After five days trapped, he realizes his only chance for survival is to amputate his own arm...and dear God, it is graphic.

Multi-tools have multi purposes
Production officials worked to make the amputation scene as medically accurate as possible, which is probably why it was so horrifying.  Ralston actually had to bend his arm until it broke in several places and then used a multi-tool to tear through the tendons.  After climbing out of the canyon, he had to hike to find help, leaving behind his arm and a place on the canyon wall where he had carved his own death notice.

Director Danny Boyle had his work cut out for him when translating Ralston's emotional and psychological well-being onto  the big screen.  It's pretty much a one-man show, so if you're not a James Franco fan, there's not a lot else to watch.  Franco is amazing though, his acting range captivates the audience with angst.  When they screened this movie at the Telluride Film Festival, they actually had to haul out two viewers on gurneys for medical attention!  One was light headed, the other suffered a freaking panic attack.  Please note, this story is not for the faint of heart.  Heather admits she actually had her eyes closed for most of it!

For a stationary subject, the movie is surprisingly well paced and well edited.  For some reason, the film's soundtrack seemed much louder than the dialog and every time the music cued up, we felt like our ears were going to start bleeding.  Not to say that it wasn't good music, it was just really loud...maybe it's a sign we're getting old.

Thumbs up!
We found this film to be graphic, poignant and an emotionally unsettling, but it was also encouraging, inspirational and moving.  What would you do to live?  Could you sever a limb to save your own life?  Is Ralston's story superhuman or just another survival tale?  And where the hell was Bear Grylls in all of this??

Brett said he really enjoyed this movie.  It was a little graphic and unsettling for Heather...the anticipation of knowing what Ralston was going to do was a little more than she was comfortable with.  Mr. Ed & Phyllis say without all of the gore, it sure would have made for a good Lifetime Movie.

Here's the trailer if you're thinking of checking it out: