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127 Hours Review

An astonishing survival tale translated beautifully into cinema

By Ivan Favelevic
On November 23, 2010

By Ivan Favelevic


As far as survival movies go, Hollywood has shown us nearly every exploitation of the formula. From "Castaway" to "Alive," the premise is simple: leave a survivor in a remote location and have them fight to survive. However, "127 Hours" does something refreshingly different. It repeats the overused formula, yet strips the main character from one of his most crucial tools. Throughout the length of the movie, Aron Raltson (James Franco) is pinned to the side of a canyon by a boulder that crushed his right forearm. He has to survive with whatever he was carrying on him at the time of the accident. While it looks good on paper, it has the  potential to easily buckle under its own weight. Thankfully, director Danny Boyle ("Slumdog Millionaire") has crafted a thoughtful and gut wrenching piece of cinema, that tells much more than what the synopsis would lead you to believe.

"127 Hours" is at its core a one-man show. James Franco portrayal of Aron Ralston is something to be witnessed. The emotion coming out from within is honest, and one can truly grasp the fear and helplessness Ralston must have felt during those horrifying moments. We see glimpses into his past as well as a haunting look into his future. We see how reckless he has been throughout, how his actions led him to that moment, how that boulder had been waiting for him his whole life. His need for freedom has cost him dearly, and the film forges a incredible story around this.

Boyle is known for his brightly colored films, and this plays surprisingly well with the story in "127 Hours." Whenever Ralston imagines a drink, your mouth will water. The sensory overload present throughout helps depict to the audience just how desperate this man must have been in his struggle for survival. Of course, if anyone knows Ralston's story, you know how it ends. In order to avoid spoilers, details will not be divulged, but do know this; it is not easy to watch. It is as intense and brutal as one would imagine. You will be beat up and left breathless after it, people will walk out of the theater, and the image will stay with you long after you leave. However, do not let this prevent you from watching the movie. The scene is as carefully directed as the rest and it never comes off as tasteless.

This is a movie that needs to be seen. Nearly every aspect of it screams quality and it crafts a believable story better than most movies based on real life. Through careful scriptwriting and amazing direction, this survival story has carved itself a one way ticket to the Oscars.

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