127 Hours: Review!

5 Dec

So last night, Selena and I went to see the new Danny Boyle film 127 Hours.  I’ve been pretty excited about this film and was glad to find room in my schedule (heading into finals week) to go and see it.  I basically already knew the basic story: man goes hiking, gets arm stuck in rock, cuts off arm with a pocket knife.  However, the film is much more than that.

The most notable thing of the movie is Danny Boyle’s directorial style.  Often, the screen splits into three vertical sections to show things from multiple viewpoints or just to present a variety of information.  The “fever dream” sequences are very interesting and well thought out, but sometimes I found them to be a little much.  For me, I’m very interested in watching things straight up realistic with a minimal score.  Nevertheless, these sequences were not intrusive and overall interesting.  The film exudes style but, when it comes down to the important parts, it shows them in all of their gritty reality.

The next notable thing about the film is James Franco’s acting.  It’s very subtle but very believable.  I really enjoy nuanced acting.  And really, it’s a guy stuck in a canyon for 5+ days by himself.  To some people, it may seem that that does not take that much acting, but it truly does.  Franco’s acting is really quite impressive conveying the little things within the performance.  In my opinion, he should get an Oscar nod.  Maybe not a win, but at least an acknowledgment of his great skill.

One of my few complaints about the film was that I expected it to be broken apart in three acts: before the boulder, during the boulder, and after the boulder.  However, the last section whizzed by so quickly that it was hard to recognize the triumph of the human body and mind in Aron’s journey.  The “afterward” text at the end just seems like a cheap way to bookcase the film.  I would have liked to see him meet with his parents or something along those lines for some more closure aside from three sentences.

The film becomes more about community and the realization that one cannot be so selfish when there are others out there that care about you.  This comes off pointedly by the end of the film, and it leaves a strong resonance throughout.

Overall, the slick style and the phenomenal, nuanced acting punctuate the film and make it a must see in this holiday season.  And yes, it made me grimace.

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