Wednesday 1 June 2011

Today's Review: 127 Hours

Ah, Danny Boyle. There isn't a movie of yours I've seen and not liked. Although there are a few that I haven't seen, so maybe I'll stick with what I know. You freaked us out with a baby crawling on a ceiling in Trainspotting, revolutionised the zombie genre in 28 Days Later, and made everyone gaga over Slumdog Millionaire. I didn't think that was amazing, but apparently a lot of people did. 

But now we have 127 Hours. The guy who played Harry Osborn and the stoner dude from Pineapple Express stuck under a rock for an hour and a half. Doesn't sound like a winner, but in Boyle's hands, it sure is. James Franco plays Aron Ralston, a canyoneer who has a slight accident that results in a massive rock trapping his hand at the bottom of a canyon. Sure, it's not all about a man and his hand, there's a bit of a lead up to it, but in the end the show really is stolen by the moments of solitude that make up most of the movie. Franco is absolutely fantastic, and never lets your mind wander away from his predicament, even if his does from time to time. Through each grunt and crazy monologue you're always supporting him, even though the situation is pretty bleak.

If you don't know what happens at the end of 127 Hours you've probably been living under a rock, but I won't spoil it for you here. Suffice it to say that the build up to the pivotal scene is beautifully paced. Ralston works through different methods of freeing himself, adequately trying each one and filming his progress. The hallucination scenes that break up the struggle and hopelessness are very nicely done. They add a little bit of character and backstory, but never overshadow what is happening in the canyon. Your mind stays firmly in the moment, but you join Ralston in his faint memories and daydreams of what might happen. 

Watching 127 Hours on Blu-Ray was awesome, one of the best transfers I've ever seen. Every drop of water and speck of dust was clearly visible, and given that water is a vital component to the plot that is foreshadowed and referenced on many occasions it really drew me in, even I wanted to drink all the stuff he dreamed about in one sequence. 

I really have nothing bad to say about this. 127 Hours is beautifully shot, with great locations and sequences that really help you identify with the loneliness and desperation of Franco's character, and his acting always keeps you focused and in the moment with him. While there have been a slew of "people in one room" movies recently, this is definitely one of the best. It reminded me a bit of Buried, which I also enjoyed, but the contrast between the open flowing landscapes of the Utah mountains and Franco stuck in a tiny hole made me root for his character more, more so as I knew it was a true story. 

Boyle, you've done it again, you've made us English proud. Now make 28 Months Later please (or whatever you wanna call it)

My rating: 5/5

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