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Monday, 1 August 2011

127 Hours - Review - 10/02/11

The first thing I’m going to point out is that I’ve seen this film twice in quick succession. I’ve never done that before and I’m also poor, let that be a measure of how good this film is. I even paid more the second time due to seeing on a weekend, and I didn’t mind.
I found myself in a similar situation recently.
 Luckily I was trapped for 125 hours less and
saved when the 'rock' was enticed off with
the rattling of some cat biscuits.

Going into the film you’d be hard pressed to find anybody who didn’t already know the story and it uses this to its advantage because the whole time you find yourself waiting for THAT moment. It teases brilliantly with the ups and downs of emotion filled scenes and each time his mood plummets you start to think ‘this is the moment’, only to be amazed at the man for finding more resolve and considering he is stuck in one place, how he does it is quite remarkable. That goes for the sceptics too; I was worried the film might consist of flashback after flashback, but there is enough event going on around him to pad it out effectively. Fear not though young bloodthirsty one for it is worth the wait, and the use of sound to go with the visual feast is splendidly horrific.

As you can imagine, in such a situation the film has its darker moments. I found it particularly chilling when Aron starts leaving messages to his parents telling them how much he loved them and apologising to his sister for not making it to her upcoming wedding. The thought of his family watching that footage can tug heartstrings when you think about it more deeply and in one moment he breaks up his current log to scream for help when he thinks he hears somebody. It’s filmed in random bursts and he watches it back on his camcorder in one of the grounding moments of his peril whilst he is still functioning reasonably well. Some more harrowing moments come as his body begins to deteriorate from malnutrition and the hallucinations start to take their toll, but Aron is a survivor and battles admirably through it.

This leads to some of the lighter moments as the best way he deals with the gravity of his circumstances is through humour. It’s deadpan but it lifts the spirits and the film follows suit by replicating the formula with several visual comedic moments, and a particular furry investigator proves to be a welcome recurrence. This is also subsidised by moments of personal triumph, whether that be a new idea for escape (again Danny Boyle’s choice of music provides a highlight) or taking pleasure in the rewards of his surroundings despite the adverse situation he finds himself in. The ultimate motivation for escape comes just when all seems lost. A vision of his unborn son helps him over the finishing line and it’s touching to read in the ‘what happened next’ script at the end of the film that his premonition came true. After all, if he went on to find he could only produce daughters I couldn’t help but feel a little cheated if I was ever in his position.

I genuinely felt like I want to be a better person at the end of this film. Credit must go to the real Aron Ralston for surviving such a horrible ordeal but also to Danny Boyle for recreating it so brilliantly and above all accurately. I also thought James Franco’s performance was superb.

Unfortunately, I don’t think everybody who watches this will feel that new respect for life or appreciation of what they have because some people are idiots. The first time I saw it there were a couple of old ladies who reacted when Aron brought blood to his mouth like he was some barbaric, self afflicting cannibal. The second time, there was a young couple some way to our right. The dude seriously said ‘Hurhur, imagine if he accidentally cut off the wrong arm’… I could not believe it.

But they are few! Everybody else who watches this film will feel as uplifted and inspired as I did, especially enjoying that wave of good feeling that courses through them when the final piece of music comes in, signalling the end of the film and the end of Aron’s ordeal. Go ahead! Live your life and remember, if the going gets tough just follow Aron Ralston’s example and do it for your unborn son! Although it might not be such a good idea to have him watch over as you perform gruesome DIY surgery on yourself; you’re going to create a psychopath.

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