127 Hours: four stars
Rated: R for language and disturbing violent content
Sometimes people do things they live to regret later. Like bungee jumping without checking your equipment; or going over Niagara Falls in a barrel; or rock climbing alone and not telling anyone where you’re going. Aaron Ralston was the victim of the latter, a fate which cost him his arm and five days of hell.
I pride myself in never being a risk taker. I see a hitchhiker on the side of the rode, I pass right by; someone offers me free skydiving lessons, I humbly decline. Movies like 127 Hours cement my trepidation of veering from the beaten trail, mostly because they do what a great movie should do, which is make us feel as though we are part of the story. Films like this don’t move quickly or slowly; they seem to exist in their own time, tapping into our fears of being trapped and alone with no hope of rescue.
So what do you do in those instances? Could you do what Ralston does and cut your own arm off? Could I do it? I’m not sure I could.
It took Ralston a good deal of resolve to severe ties with his appendage, and a great deal from the audience as well, some of whom, I’ve heard, fainted during the films final moments. It’s not so much the gore – of which there is surprisingly little – but the soundtrack done by Hugo Adams. It’s a hard sound to explain, but anyone who’s ever touched a nerve knows it intimately.
Despite the feelings of dread you get watching it, 127 Hours is compulsively watchable. James Franco does a superb job of portraying Ralston in two forms: the cocky thrill-seeker who lives his life in a blissful carefree state, and the trapped mountain climber who must go to extreme lengths to survive. The first one got him in that mess; the second one got him out.
‘Til next time! See you at the movies.