"Don't give up... Aron... do not give up."
Before the movie started however, before I had even found the website that would take me on this Film journey, the one thing I was still skeptical about was the "Based on a True Story" tag shown in the trailer. The only other places I've seen that line are before or after crappy Horror movies. Normally the "found footage" types that end up being big piles of rancid excrement rather than something that's actually scary. Anyway, that's beside the point.
Having just finished watching 127 Hours for the second time, and it being the movie it is, I figured it was past time I review it. I do still plan on reviewing "Batman Begins" and "The Dark Knight", but I want to be able to sit down and devote all of my attention to both movies so I can give as good a review as possible. Which I should be able to do regardless, especially "The Dark Knight", given how many times I've watched THAT movie, hah. But I'm getting off-topic.
From director Danny Boyle (28 Days Later, 28 Weeks Later, and Slumdog Millionaire) comes this harrowing tale of real-life mountain climber Aron Ralston (James Franco), who literally cuts himself free from danger and lives to tell about it when a sliding rock pins his forearm under a boulder during a climb in Utah. To stay alive, Ralston resorts to his basest survival instincts. Such is the description of the Netflix DVD sleeve sitting on my desk next to my Macbook Pro.
As the movie started, the thing that first stood out to me was the choice of music. Instead of a full-fledged score playing constantly throughout the Film, there were only a handful of songs played. Most notably "If I Rise" by Dido and A. R. Rahman. The one thing that still stands out to me about the Film's music is how its incorporated. Aron would be driving out to "Canyonland" or just walking along a self-made trail with the particular song playing like a regular soundtrack, but then it would be heard from his car's stereo or the headphones of the music player he had with him. And some of those snippets of song still play through my mind as I type this out.
I have to laugh to myself because as I type this review, there is a thunderstorm raging right outside and I can't help but be reminded of a similar scene from the movie. Despite 127 Hours having been out for nearly two years, I'll refrain from any spoilers just in case there's someone out there like me who almost missed this jewel of a film.
Some of the other aspects of 127 Hours that were refreshingly different from most every other movie was he choice of directing and cinematography. Instead of giving sweeping shots of the landscape, which Boyle does a total of two, maybe three, times. And even then it's to establish how futile it is for Aron to be screaming for help. Or to also show just how desperate his situation really is. And you can forget the standard issue filming camera. More than once this movie looked like it could've been shot from the camcorder used to capture Aron's more dire situations.
My hat has been off to Franco ever since I first saw this movie for giving such a memorable performance. Not many actors, or actresses too I suppose, would be capable of holding up a feature-length film by themselves. Sure we see flashbacks and premonitions of Aron's life, and get a suitably enjoyable time with Kate Mara and Amber Tamblyn before our main character gets stuck, but for the rest of this hour-and-a-half venture it's all on Franco. Something else I found myself thinking as the credits began to scroll on my living room television; during the running time of this movie not once was I taken out of the experience. Despite the barest touch of Hollywood in this movie, something like this can happen to anyone.
Hopefully I've touched on all of the important or memorable parts of this movie... Actually no... now that I think about it I haven't. If everything I've said above was lost on you, the one thing that should be taken away from this movie is that you should appreciate your life. Because while some would say this movie doesn't have that much replay value, I respectfully disagree. In this current day and age, we can forget just how (not to sound overly cheesy) precious are lives really are. And also how we shouldn't give up when faced with enormous "mountains" that are in actuality just tiny little mole hills.
Oh! And if you go ANYWHERE alone... Leave a note!
This was a review by tMG. Thanks so much for reading.