Director Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire) has been following the story of Aron Ralston ever since the mountain climber got his arm trapped under a rock for almost six days. Ralston went on to write a book about his experience, which Boyle then adapted for the big screen. Article continues below
One can only imagine how difficult it was to convince the studio to fund the film, considering that Ralston was all by himself for 127 hours, with only the powerful moment at the end seemingly being the one thing of interest. On top of that, Boyle decided not to include anything about the rescue mission, Ralston's family, or anything else. The idea was just to focus on Ralston.
But how can a feature film be interesting where the main character is the sole focus and doesn't even move? Realistically, it's can't, but Boyle found a way and the result is incredible.
While Ralston (played by James Franco) had nobody to interact with, he had his camcorder and that was his way to communicate with his family and friends. Plus Boyle used some clever techniques to keep the story exciting. And while that was helpful, watching Ralston try numerous ways of getting his arm free from under a rock was hardly sleep-inducing. Most people in the theater (and these are critics I'm talking about) couldn't stop squirming in their seats, grabbing their heads and whispering such statements as "oh no" and "oh god." And that was before Ralston does what many would consider unthinkable.
That "unthinkable" scene was also handled carefully. It's not necessarily gruesome. In fact, most of the bloody scenes are blurred in the background, but there is a strong sense of what's going on and you could almost feel everything that Ralston was going through. One particular part of it was so disturbing that I would rather have my own arm trapped under a rock than watch it again. And that's a compliment.
In the movie, Boyle also made sure to explain what Ralston is all about and how he got himself in that position. The rest of the time, Ralston analyzes his life and slowly begins to believe that the rock was waiting for him ever since its creation. It was that tone that makes the audience connect with Ralston.
"127 Hours" in an incredible film, one that I recommend to any movie fan and to anyone looking for a unique experience. Franco delivers a powerful performance and is sure to be noticed during the awards season.