Silver Chips Online

"127 Hours" is worth the wait

Outstanding direction and powerful emotion make for an excellent story

By Myla Sapp, Online Sports Editor
November 21, 2010
In 2003, mountain climber Aron Ralston faced his physical and emotional limits when trapped deep inside of a canyon near Moab, Utah. Director Danny Boyle’s (Slumdog Millionaire) adaption of this captivating true story does not disappoint. The cinematography of the film along with lead actor James Franco’s portrayal of Ralston adds an extra layer of pleasure to the motion picture.

127 Hours

(released November 05, 2010)
James Franco stars as mountain climber Aron Ralston. Courtesy of Fox Searchlight
Chips Rating:
4 stars
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User Rating:
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James Franco stars as mountain climber Aron Ralston.
"127 Hours" is a high quality work of art. The film begins as carefree Ralston (Franco) embarks on a weekend hiking trip to the Blue John Canyon in Utah. He lightheartedly neglects to tell anyone where he is going—a small mistake that he will grow to regret. After having some fun with two hikers (Amber Tamblyn and Kate Mara) whom he meets at the beginning of his journey, Ralston accidentally dislodges a medium sized boulder while he is descending down a canyon wall. As the boulder falls down the canyon, it forcefully lands on Ralston’s right arm, making it nearly impossible for him to escape. Ralston persistently fights for survival, but his life seems to flash before his eyes as the days go by. In order to escape, Ralston makes a choice that demonstrates one man's willpower to survive.

Franco's portrayal of Ralston inevitably dictates the overall impression of the film, due to the limited number of supporting actors. Carrying the tough role, Franco does a remarkable job of adding both heartfelt emotion and humor to the story. While watching the movie, audience members will experience joy, laughter, anger and sadness all in one sitting. Franco brings life to a role that could have easily been one dimensional.

Boyle’s direction is another aspect that makes this film so incredible. Many may be skeptical of a film focused on what a man does while stuck against a canyon wall for 127 hours; nonetheless, Boyle successfully captures the misery of Ralston’s situation on the outside, and the mental and emotional pain that he is experiencing on the inside. Various flash back scenes due to Ralston's hallucinations are used to create a change of scenery in the film and enhance character development.

Despite Franco's evocative portrayal, the cinematography of “127 Hours” is the main attraction to the film. Along with the creative use of camera angles to capture the wide array of emotions in the movie, Boyle takes advantage of a three screen technique. Several times in the movie, the screen is broken up into three equally sized columns, each showing a different scene. The scenes eventually merge together flawlessly and create a new assimilation of the three original columns. The three screen effect does a good job of smoothly incorporating various ideas into one and is visually stimulating at the same time.

The Utah's scenery, especially Blue John Canyon where Ralston is trapped, contributes to the beauty of "127 Hours." From the large desert mountains to the bright blue lakes, the scenery is of the movie visually astounding. Additionally, the film is shot professionally and simultaneously manages to seem as if Ralston filmed the voyage on his own camera.

Although the overall film was entertaining from start to finish, there were several dull moments in the middle of the movie that were unnecessary. The film would flow much better without these slow scenes. There are also various graphic scenes that will be viewed as distasteful and require a mature audience.

Regardless of the sometimes graphic nature of "127 Hours," however, it is a great film about finding one’s self and knowing when to ask for help. Not only so, the film captures the exquisite atmosphere and environment of Utah. "127 Hours" doesn’t have a fairytale ending, but it will nonetheless leave the audience inspired and thankful.

"127 Hours" is rated R for language and some disturbing violent content/bloody images.

http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/story/10478