“So factually accurate it is as close to a documentary as you can get and still be a drama.” – This is the description of 127 Hours by the real person portrayed in the film Aron Ralston.
On the surface 127 Hours appears to be another realistic “what if” that could only fall flat on its face like 2010’s Buried. How could a film be THAT interesting when the description of it could be summed up in one sentence? A man goes hiking in Canyonlands National Park in Utah, slips and falls within a crevice where his right arm is hopelessly smashed and lodged by a large boulder. You may think that, like buried it would be an hour of a guy screaming and frantically calling loved ones on a cellular phone but luckily for us it is a portrayal of something that really happened. What we get is the reality of surviving 5 days in that horrible predicament and a glimpse into the psyche of someone who truly believes their life to be over.
James Franco’s portrayal of Aron Ralston is a bit of the original guy mixed in with his own brand of humor that we know and enjoy. While he was engaging and charismatic, the early half of the movie showed him as a bit of a careless hipster, which hurt the movie in that the impact of his eventual fall is met with “well there ya go” versus “oh no!” This is a light critique however since moments after realizing his fate you cannot help but feel sorry for the guy and begin to root for him that rescue will eventually come.
During the passing minutes of the trapped Ralston, we are treated to his hallucinations and memories accompanied by the brilliant score arranged by A.R. Rahman. Trust me the music was very memorable and fitting for every situation. Franco’s screams are real and his light humors to pass the time is enough to break the uncomfortable silence as you watch him squirm and try to chip away at the enormous rock that crushed his hand. 127 Hours reaches into your heart and puts you firmly in the predicament, you feel his pain and there are times when it becomes so intense I found myself barely able to take it. The thought that someone went through this to live and write the book “Between A Rock and A Hard Place” is amazing enough.
In the end 127 Hours is a great tale about the human will to explore, experience and ultimately survive. It shows us that at the end when it is all turning black, we will push through to overcome the odds and ultimately live. Aron Ralston is a survivor (we get a shot of him at the end) and James Franco did him justice in this portrayal. This is definitely a spicy treat to consume movie-watchers, please be sure to check out 127 Hours when you can.