Saturday, 19 February 2011


127 Hours [Review]

Opinion: A-

Technically and inspirationally, this film has all the flair in instilling great cinematic moments that are often undermined by several. It's a film about a man being trapped in a fixed location for a little over 5 days, this is where Director Danny Boyle shows you how it can be made into a watchable 90 minute film that is worth every single cent of your ticket purchase.

127 HOURS is the new film from Danny Boyle, the Academy Award winning director of last year's Best Picture, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE. 127 HOURS is the true story of mountain climber Aron Ralston's (James Franco) remarkable adventure to save himself after a fallen boulder crashes on his arm and traps him in an isolated canyon in Utah. Over the next five days Ralston examines his life and survives the elements to finally discover he has the courage and the wherewithal to extricate himself by any means necessary, scale a 65 foot wall and hike over eight miles before he is finally rescued. Throughout his journey, Ralston recalls friends, lovers (Clemence Poesy), family, and the two hikers (Amber Tamblyn and Kate Mara) he met before his accident. Will they be the last two people he ever had the chance to meet? A visceral thrilling story that will take an audience on a never before experienced journey and prove what we can do when we choose life.

If you've seen how the film is made, you'd have known how much effort has been drafted into this production where a base camp is set in the middle of some wilderness and helicopters transport crew and equipment to and fro every shooting day. Cameras and their operators were set up with climbing ropes like mountaineers and one might say that this production could be one of the most demanding.

So is the story and experience of Aron Ralston.

Based upon the amazing true account of Ralston, this film is made in tribute to his courage to stand up against nature and allowing his will to live to outshine all adversary. Being trapped with a boulder pinning your right hand against the canyon walls inside the claustrophobic cracks of the Blue John Canyon isn't a situation that anyone will want to find themselves in.

James Franco makes a terrific acting career performance and is probably by far the best we've seen of him. 127 Hours will definitely become his pivotal point as it allowed him to break free from conventional roles and portrayed one of the best sides to him that deserves watching. It's great to see him getting nods, even though people are pinning hopes on Colin Firth to eventually win. In my opinion, his rendition of Aron Ralston was very realistic and made me feel for him during the course of the film, which is what acting is all about - realism within fiction.

Wait, it's more like achieving realism within realism.

If you are thinking how watchable a film is when it merely depicts a man trapped within the cracks of a canyon for 127 hours under the screening time of about 90 minutes, my suggestion here to you is this.

Just go watch it to immerse yourself in what is probably one of the best cinematic experience ever.

Boyle has yet again proven his flair in filmmaking and it's exactly what makes him one of the best in the industry. He's already proven himself countless times especially with his previous winner "Slumdog Millionaire" and who doesn't love it when it took everyone by storm during its year of release?

A visually stunning film that borrows from great editing and cinematography by Jon Harris and Anthony Dod Mantle/Enrique Chediak respectively. We see stylised treatment in the film with the occasional mesmerising landscapes of the canyons. Also not forgetting the original music by A.R. Rahman that made the entire 90 minutes so much more entertaining and enjoyable as a whole.

127 Hours is a film that gets you deeply involved even after you step out of the theatre, thinking (or rethinking) about your life and the wonders of it. Often we tend to feel that we are in control of our lives but life is never simplistic enough for anybody to fully hold a good grasp upon. Here we see a talented Ralston who is so confident and full of life (and of himself in some manner) that he has always thought that navigating though life's mysteries and wonders under the most risky situations would be the best after-dinner desserts he could possibly have.

That was before the element of nature came into play.

Under the power of nature, man is belittled to a tiny speck of existential form as seen here in 127 Hours. Drastic climatic conditions, lack of food and water supply, lack of sleep, claustrophobic location, and eerie silence during most parts of the days and nights. What keeps a man going here will be his determination and will to live and survive. We see him talking to his video camcorder most of the times, his only companion to converse with that is also probably what keeps him sane.

Ralston performs the unimaginable feat of severing his own right forearm, which is graphically portrayed in this film without ever showing much of him actually doing it through editing (it's a little gruesome in thought but if that's what bothering you, it's not a reason worth to skip this film). What's horrible rather, is the sound that we hear during the controversial scene, which brings one much closer to realism than the sight of it.

So it's a battle between nature, Ralston, and his will to live, and it's one that you shouldn't miss for any reason at all.


  1. I agree 100%! :) 127 Hours is without a doubt a unique cinematic experience! However, "Slumodog" remains my favorite Boyle film - it was pretty flawless. Great review, J! :)

  2. All I have to say is this movie was awesome! That, and great review!

  3. @Nebular Slumdog was sensational that year, it swept the award season like a brilliant vacuum cleaner! Aha! Thanks George! I also thought Franco had a great performance, just too bad there's Firth.

    @Matty Indeed it was! The film was an inspiration in my opinion, and Boyle did it in such an entertaining manner given the somber overtone of the material. Thanks Matty! :)

  4. A wonderful analysis for the film, buddy!
    Talking about the power of nature, Boyle really lets nature do the rest of the talking, and we're treated to sweeping skies and sunsets, thundering rainstorms and the absolute best and worst that nature can do.

  5. @Jaccstev Very true! You know when the moment the thunder suddenly roared when Franco was hallucinating about something, I literally jumped in my seat that very instance! Never has nature been so intimidating for me. Thanks Jaccstev! You do great yourself too, really enjoyed reading your updates and reviews ;)


    but, unfortunately, its rated as 18 in Malaysia. :S

    Is it rated as 18 in Singapore?? :O

  7. @JEMSEN It's rated NC16 in Singapore. If you're residing near Singapore (i.e. JB), maybe you can consider coming over! :)


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