Review: 127 Hours

12 01 2011

I was on a golf day with work yesterday where I walked what felt like 10 miles so I apologise both for the lack of posting and for me rambling like an exhausted madman.

A good time was had by all, especially some of the elder members of the golf society, one of whom was telling me that he wished he was 21 again so he could associate more with the fairer sex and do things that would be unprintable on this blog. Who says romance is dead?

Weirdly, lewd drunken behaviour leads me on to the topic I am blogging about: I went to see 127 hours on Monday. Before the movie, Mrs D. arranged to have a cheap meal at the wetherspoons pub which is customary. Whilst I was waiting for Mrs D. to arrive I could hear a group of particularly haggard, emphysema ridden, alcohol soaked, dried up women in the corner. The main offender, who resembled what Kat Slater would look like if you soaked her in vodka for a few weeks, was screaming how it was her birthday and that she was 43 (I’m assuming she meant B.C). I’m being scathing but it wasn’t doing me any harm and it was more funny to watch than anything… but that all changed when she took her clothes off. Yuck.

So after eating my food with that image of Britain’s drink problem charred into my brain, I thought I could handle 127 hours with no real issues. I’d heard about the book Between a Rock and a Hard Place by the real-life protagonist which the movie is based on: amateur outdoorsman Aron Ralston, but I have to admit at that point, the book seemed a bit uninteresting to me.

To summarise, Ralston (played by James Franco) decides to go hiking in the Bluejohn canyon in Utah without telling friends or family where he’s going. At the beginning of the movie he’s a bit of a grade-A douche: doesn’t really seem to think of anyone else and is on a constant quest of self fulfilment to show how free and deep he is. He’s alone but he’s got all of this technology with him and cannot stop taking pictures of himself in a bid to reaffirm how awesome he is (we all know those people on facebook don’t we?)

So after he runs into some girls he carries on to the canyon. He grips a boulder which then comes loose and falls on top of Ralston in a small gorge, trapping his hand underneath. 127 hours is about his experience, trapped in isolation.

It was only until I was listening to an interview with the movie’s director, Danny Boyle, that I was convinced that it was worth seeing. Boyle is one of my favourite directors and his work includes Slumdog Millionaire and Trainspotting. I have linked both these movies to Play.com because if you haven’t seen them you need to buy the DVD’s immediately!

Sorry, I got carried away there. Boyle was speaking to the interviewer about 127 hours and instead of going on about what most people know the story is infamous for (I wont ruin it if you don’t), he spoke about how despite taking pride in being  “self-sustained” Ralston ends up in a situation where none of his technology or self assurance can help him. By taking his family and friends for granted Ralston reasons that he has brought this situation on himself and that he needs to change his state of mind if he wants to survive.

The premise seems quite similar to Buried which I saw a few months back, but whereas people were looking at their watches and grumbling in the foyer afterwards about the lack of stimulation in Buried – it’s Ryan Reynolds in a coffin for 2 hours – everyone seemed really engaged in 127 hours. If I had to guess, I think it’s testament to Boyles clever film making such as moments where Ralston is using his video camera to film a mock up radio show whilst he’s whiling away the hours.

By the end of the movie, I did come out of the cinema feeling inspired and I’m something of a cynic. It’s a real tale of the strength of human spirit and what a person is capable of when trying to stay alive which I believe is what Boyle is shooting for.

Definitely worth seeing – 4/5

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