Film Review: 127 Hours

James Franco in 127 Hours

James Franco in 127 Hours


****DISCLAIMER****
This review is for entertainment purposes only.
Those of you new to my reviews might want to close your eyes while reading.

Hello, let me introduce myself. My name is George Roush, otherwise known as “El Guapo” in the online movie community. I’ve been writing reviews for around ten years and Script magazine has been very generous in asking me to write a review for them. This is, of course, Script‘s first big mistake, and I want to apologize to every person reading this that has an IQ above 45. My style of review isn’t for everyone. I’m not the intellectual that writes words you have to look up in the dictionary like, “sepulchral,” “rattletrap,” or “fisting.” My style is more the Everyman, written for the average Joe looking to find out if a movie is worth seeing. But at the same time, being entertained. After all, we go to the movies to be entertained, why shouldn’t a review of the film be as such? Granted, I have yet to find anyone that is actually entertained by my nonsense, but Daddy always told me nobody likes a quitter. Except for the 49er’s. They quit years ago yet still have fans.

5 Things You Never Wanna Get Stuck In:

  1. The last level of Diablo II without your weapons because that’s a real bitch.
  2. An elevator after eating Taco Bell.
  3. Church during happy hour.
  4. Inside a playground tunnel at Chuck E. Cheese with your pants off, cause that’s pretty awkward.
  5. New Jersey.

This week’s ‘What have I done?’ movie is 127 Hours, a story based on true events starring James Franco as Aron Ralston, a mountain climber and thrill seeker who finds himself stuck at the bottom of a canyon after a small boulder crashes on his arm and traps him. With only a small amount of food and water, Aron must try and find a way to get out of this predicament or meet his certain death. The movie is directed by Danny Boyle, who directed 28 Days Later, Sunshine and Slumdog Millionaire.

The movie begins with Aron getting ready to go on another thrill seeking adventure. Only problem is, he never told anyone where he was going. Within minutes, thanks to upbeat music and close-ups of Aron smiling while driving, our main man is shown as a carefree guy who loves the outdoors and the excitement of exploration. Wearing a Phish t-shirt, which means he likes really shitty music, Aron sets off to bike, hike and climb the canyons near Moab, Utah. He runs into two female hikers (played by Amber Tamblyn and Kate Mara) and hangs out with them before setting off to explore the beautiful landscape of Blue John Canyon. A place where he finds himself trapped for over five days when his arm gets stuck under a small boulder. Wanna know a worse scenario than that? Waking up next to a fat, ugly girl after an all night bender. Can’t chew your arm outta that flesh trap, my friend.

While I wasn’t a huge fan of Slumdog Millionaire, I do think Danny Boyle is one of the best directors working today. His skills, combined with the vision of cinematographers Enrique Chediak and Anthony Dod Mantle, show just how beautiful our planet Earth can be. Danny never gets crazy with the camera. There’s some handy cam shots but they’re not shaking all over the place and you’re able to see everything that Aron is doing while he’s trapped. Wide shots of the canyon itself are breathtaking and all I could think about while watching it was how I’d be first in line to purchase the Blu-Ray. John Harris managed to edit together a movie that keeps your attention within its short 97 minute timespan. Even with today’s rude audience, I can guarantee nobody will be checking emails on their Blackberries during this film because they’ll be too busy sweating. That and I’ll throw my Coke at them.

And as soon as it happens, as soon as that rock traps Aron, you are immediately, emotionally attached to this person. Once he gets stuck, the audience is stuck with him, and for the next 80 or so minutes, you’ll experience one of the most intense movies you’ll ever see. You want Aron to escape from this situation, and at times, you need him to or you’re gonna have a panic attack. It’s one of the most uncomfortable movies you will ever sit through. Yes, even more uncomfortable than Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Aron has to now contend with the cold, ants and his own state of mental health. You have to contend with not cringing.

Since this is Script magazine, I guess I should talk about the script. Don’t want you guys thinking you accidentally clicked on retardreview.com (might be too late for that). The screenplay was written by Boyle with Slumdog writing partner Simon Beaufoy with help from Aron Ralston. 127 Hours is based off of his book, Between a Rock and a Hard Place. What is essentially a one man show is kept moving at a brisk pace by Aron’s flashbacks and visions of the people in his life, including the two girls he met before finding himself stuck at the bottom of a canyon. Aron also talks about what he’s going through by videotaping himself periodically, leaving heartfelt messages to his parents for them to see after his death. These are fantastic scenes that flesh out the kind of person Aron was and is. It just makes you pray for his freedom that much more. And when he decides he’s had enough and is going to free himself, you’re on the edge of your seat. Even with long stretches of no dialogue, 127 Hours commands your full attention. It’s a wonderful piece of storytelling that never bores you. But I gotta warn you, some scenes are really, really intense. As in ‘people had to have medical attention’ intense when the movie was shown at the Telluride Film Festival.

Don’t worry, you’re not gripping the arm of your chair the entire time. The tension is broken up in places when Aron starts to remember his past relationships and the people he knows he might never see again. These scenes are what makes the script so good, giving you both backstory, character development, and a break from wiping the sweat off your forehead. It’s heartbreaking when you think about it. Trapped, knowing you’re going to die. Thinking of the people you know and once knew. Of the mistakes you made. Of situations you wish you could take back. It’s an extremely emotional film and it really makes you appreciate what you have that much more. If it doesn’t, then you’re probably an asshole and nobody would miss you anyway.

I always enjoyed James Franco’s performances in movies and 127 Hours really lets him shine as an actor. So much so, I think he should be nominated for an Academy Award. Playing a real person has to be tough and Franco manages to have us laughing one second and crying the next. Franco was the perfect actor for this role but it must have been emotionally draining for the guy having to do some of the scenes he did. Especially the scene where he tries to find some shining light in his situation and tries to masturbate but his head isn’t into it. I know that feeling, which is why I wear clown make-up and throw on some Barry Manilow before relaxing myself.

127 Hours reminded me of 2003’s Touching the Void, another film about a man who finds the strength and courage to beat the odds. As uplifting and inspirational as 127 Hours is, I know I wouldn’t have survived something like this. After screaming for five hours, wetting myself and eating and drinking all of my food and water within 30 minutes I probably would have given up and just let nature take its course. Which is why the only activity I involve myself in is playing video games and watching movies from the comfort and safety of my own home. (I’ll let you wackos handle the dangerous stuff like mountain climbing and cosmic bowling.) 127 Hours is a wonderful, inspirational story that I hope touches you as deeply as it touched me. And for the record, Danny Boyle can go fuck himself for making me cry at the end of it.

Rock climbing tips when you follow El Guapo on Twitter.

5 thoughts on “Film Review: 127 Hours

  1. stevieg

    I agree with you George, its a very good movie, one of the best I have seen this year. I was worried that I would be unsympathetic to his plight because he acted foolishly when he didn’t tell anyone where he was going or when to expect him back but the script and Boyle deftly address this and Franco was immediately and immensely like-able as the free spirit Ralston. I also agree that Franco’s performance is Oscar nomination worthy and hopefully he will get a nod.

  2. art christmann

    Hi george. I’m happy that they have given you the opportunity to show your talent. I’m a big fan of your reviews ( Latino ) and a Twitter follower. Keep up the good work George, you ROCK!

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