127 Hours with James Franco

Director: Danny Boyle

Starring: James Franco

This Thanksgiving weekend, if you choose to go see a movie, I am sure most of you will go see

Harry Potter

.  Harry’s latest adventure is fantastic and the best of the series, but if Harry Potter is sold out I am going to offer another option.  Oscar winning director

Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours

may get overlooked this holiday season, but it is well worth seeking out.

127 Hours is the true story of Aron Ralston. Ralston became trapped while hiking alone in Utah's Blue John Canyon.

A boulder he was using as support gave way and pinned his arm to the canyon wall.  For five days, Ralston attempted to free himself with no success.  With only a small amount of water, Ralston had to resort to drinking his own urine for survival.  Certain that he would die,  he used his video camera to record a farewell message to his parents.  He even carved his name and birth date on the canyon wall. Alone and dying he began to regret the way he managed his relationship's with family and friends.  He even recognized that his own arrogance led  him to the canyon without telling a single person where he was going.  Aron experiences a vision/hallucination that shows him a possible future if he is able to free himself.  The contents of the vision, and tear inducing moment, will remain spoiler free for those of you who will see the movie.  Happily his vision came to pass earlier this year. 

The scene of the actual amputation will be polarizing for movie goers. Many people will go or not go to the theatre because of that scene.  It is a brief moment of the film but it is crucial to Ralston’s journey.  He even acknowledges it as the culmination of his young life.  Aron feels that everything he has done has led him to that canyon and that boulder.  The scene is very graphic.  He must break his own arm in order to cut through the meat with a dull blade and struggles with tearing through his nerve.  He makes his own tourniquet and then  rappels out of the canyon.  After hiking several miles, he crosses paths with other hikers who are able to bring medical aid.

James Franco

is phenomenal in this role and spends most of the film acting alone on screen.  He must create his emotional responses with only the camera in front him.  The range that Franco displays is quite extraordinary.   I would bet that on Oscar night we will see Franco sitting in the front as a nominee.

[caption id="attachment_5715" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="The real Aron Ralston"]


Danny Boyle maintains his reputation has a diverse filmmaker.  The man does not like to repeat himself.  During the last decade, he has directed: the great horror film

28 Days Later

, the exceptional and overlooked science fiction film


, and most recently received worldwide accolades and an Oscar for his Bollywood inspired hit 

Slumdog Millionaire

.  By using tight close ups of Franco, Boyle brings the viewer inside the canyon and recreates the isolation and fear that  Aron Ralston experienced.

Movies are escapist entertainment, but every now and then a movie gives us more than just an interesting story.  The heart of this film is the power of the human spirit.  And how  in the face of insurmountable odds an average human being can find the courage to survive.  The film is a brief 90 minutes but you will carry away a feeling of hope that will last much longer.



score 9 out of 10



Jamie Clemons