The definition of diverse:
Diverse (born Kenny Jenkins in Chicago, Illinois) is an American rapper. An underground hip-hop artist, he has received critical acclaim “from knowledgeable heads worldwide”
But a few results down on Googles “define:” feature, there is a line which sums up director Danny Boyles resume’ perfectly –
“Different; unlike; dissimilar; distinct; separate; in different directions; diversely”
He’s covered a zombie apocalypse (28 Days Later), an Indian love story (Slumdog Millionaire), drug addiction (Trainspotting) and the imminent destruction of the earth in Sunshine. With 127 Hours, the diversity continues, as Boyle tells an amazing true story of human triumph and a tale of unbelievable physical and mental endurance.
Mountain climber Aron Ralston knows Blue John Canyon like the back of his hand. He goes there frequently, to scale boulders, drop down crevices into pools of water and for the occasional bike ride which, because of the terrain, sometimes ends in a photo worthy fall.
On one of his many visits, he meets Megan and Kristi, two amateur explorers who without much hesitation trust him to lead them to their intended destination. After reaching where they want to go, they invite him to a party at their house. It’s an event that he’ll never make it to, as whilst returning to his car he misjudges the sturdiness of a branch for support over a gap between two rock faces. He crashes to the ground, but a boulder which was also resting on the branch traps his arm against one of the walls. With limited supplies and absolutely no one around to help, he must do all he can to survive the harsh nights in the canyon, whilst facing the reality that if he is to to escape, it won’t be in one piece…
There was no doubt that this was going to be The James Franco show: the two female characters share about 10 minutes of screen time with him, with other supporting cast members getting about 5 minutes of dream sequences or flashbacks throughout the entire film. So it was vital that Franco made us believe his anguish, pain and ultimately his ecstasy. Fortunately (although not surprisingly) he gives the performance of his short but promising career.
Remember Buried? The Ryan Reynolds picture from a few months back? Didn’t think so. 127 Hours is the film Buried wishes it was; powerful, emotion filled and most importantly, tensely atmospheric: ironically there is more claustrophobia created in the vast, sprawling Utah canyons than there was in a coffin sized box.
Also, there really isn’t a dull moment, as camera doesn’t just stay on Franco. There are many shots of things taken from angles not usually explored in film; rather than just show him drinking, Boyle opts to give the viewer a look down the straw. Another example of original camerawork is when he’s replaying his video camera. Instead of the usual static shot of Ralston pressing the rewind button, we’re shown the actual film inside the camera. Boyle certainly does have an eye for quirkiness. This isn’t always a welcome feature though, as it noticeably takes away impact from a few scenes. Static shots of Ralstons anguish wouldn’t have gone amiss during key sequences, especially “the amputation scene”.
Everyone knows it going to happen: the marketing and reviews certainly made sure of that. But still, like a good horror movie that scares you in the same places every time you watch it, you know he’s going to lose the arm in the end, but it’s still a shock to see it happen. Admittedly, reports of people fainting and being carried out on stretchers because it’s so explicit are probably false, but it’s still pretty darn grotesque. The substitution of particular sounds is ingenious, with particular effects not too dissimilar to those heard on the board game Operation.
127 Hours is a rare film where the audience fully feels the emotions of the character; his freedom from the rock is channelled to cinema goers own freedom of not having to watch him endure any more torture. The range of emotions that 127 Hours sends viewers through is simply phenomenal.
127 Hours is more than a survival film. It questions the audience of their existence; what makes us human, what we would do to survive in an almost certainly fatal scenario, but most of all it asks us: do you really appreciate everything that makes you an individual?