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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Inspirational Conquest of The Human Spirit, February 1, 2011
This review is from: 127 Hours (DVD)
127 Hours is a 2010 film directed by Danny Boyle (28 Days Later, Slumdog Millionaire). He is making amazing and realistic films on tiny fractions of the budget it takes for any fat pompous producer's wallet to hock films about androids who turn into minivans, and he's winning the praise of his peers in doing so. If I had Danny Boyle over for dinner I'll bet he could take my camcorder and create a ten minute short film that might be good enough for an Oscar nomination. He's that good, and that's why he can take an inspirational story about real-life climber Aron Ralston, who in May of 2003 was forced to amputate his own arm to free himself from a boulder that had fallen on him, and make a movie out of it. True that it's an inspirational story, but at the same time it's still a movie about a guy who is trapped suffering in a canyon for more than five days and eventually makes the decision to break his arm and slowly cut it off with a cheap jackknife. On the surface it certainly doesn't seem to sound like a story a mainstream audience would want to sit through for 90 minutes, but if church groups can bring kids to see The Passion of the Christ, and mobs of kids can go see repeated glorification of humans potentially ending life on Earth, then you can see a movie about one guy who would do the unthinkable to talk to his mother and father again, to fix up a relationship with a woman he loved, to see his sister get married, and to hold his unborn son for the first time. It is an enriching film about one man whose life was faced with a horrendous obstacle that smashed his hand and his whole life forever. In the prime of Aron's life he very suddenly found himself staring death right in the face, and told death he was simply not ready. There was no way this guy was going to die, not like this. Boyle and his team should be praised for taking an effectually unfilmmable concept and turning into the best film of 2010.

127 Hours follows the true story of Raltson (play brilliantly by James Franco), an adventurous mountain climber and canyoneer, who has to save himself after a boulder traps his hand and him in an isolated canyon in Utah. Throughout the next 127 hours Ralston assesses his life before the boulder fell on him. He eventually musters the courage to amputate his arm, climb a 60 foot canyon wall, and tread for 8 miles before finally being rescued. Be warned, it is as realistic an ordeal as you can imagine so the camera doesn't look away when he makes the difficult decision to leave his arm behind.

Obviously this is a film that simply would not work without a great casting choice followed by a truly great performance. James Franco has, along with perhaps Natalie Portman in Black Swan, put together the best performance I've seen so far in 2010, which has been a very strong year, but I still have movies to see. Franco more than deserves the praise he is getting. It is another level displayed by this great young actor and if he doesn't win an Oscar for this, he will get his recognition in time.

In real-life Ralston has said the film is almost like a documentary of what happened to him. I'm sure it was uncomfortable for him to watch, as it was certainly uncomfortable at times for me, but in the end the reward of life is worth it. 127 Hours really is a meditation on and a celebration of life. I can only hope that if I were in that canyon I would have the courage to make such a decision and shame on me if I couldn't, given how fortunate I am to have the things I have. Few films made in the last ten or so years had me pondering these kinds of things, and if I were to ask myself why I watch and love movies, I might say because I hope to find further reverence for life and the most powerful encouragement to live it fully. This movie gets my highest recommendation.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 17, 2011 9:41:24 AM PST
Gio says:
I read ralston's book, and I look forward to this film. Good review!

Posted on Feb 17, 2011 7:40:16 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 17, 2011 7:42:58 PM PST
H. Schneider says:
my daughters loved the movie (but then they are also much taken by the actor); I can't convince myself to watch a self-amputation.
I am in disagreement about the 'very strong year'. Rather I think it is a fairly miserable year based on the Oscar candidates that I watched. Always excepting this one here, on which I don't have an opinion, the only one that was remotely deserving was Winter's Bone!

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 18, 2011 9:58:28 AM PST
K. Driscoll says:
I guess I've enjoyed my top five to ten movies this year more than most. Last year was strong too. I did finally see Winter's Bone and I agree with you both, it is a great film.
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