From director Danny Boyle comes this harrowing tale of real-life mountain climber Aron Ralston (James Franco), who literally cuts himself loose from danger — and lives to tell about it when sliding rock pins his forearm under a boulder during a climb in Utah. To stay alive, Ralston resorts to his basest survival instincts. The film scored Academy Award nominations in the Best Picture and Best Actor (Franco) categories.
Rating: 8 out of 10
“127 Hours” is hard to watch and completely worth it. It made me cringe watching the opening scenes as Aron Ralston (James Franco) greedily chugs water, ignores phone calls from his family, and leaves his apartment without his Swiss Army Knife to go hiking in Utah. I knew he was going to go, not tell anyone where, fall, and that a boulder would trap the hand he’d lose on the trip. But a part of me still hoped for a different outcome.
It didn’t happen. About a half hour into the movie he fell, the boulder crushed his hand, and he was trapped. The real-life hiker filmed himself during his 127 hours in the canyon, and Franco and director Danny Boyle are among the few people who have seen these tapes. I’m sure the video helped Franco to pull off the amazing performance he gave expressing the frustration, fear, anger, desperation, and sadness Aron felt.
There’s a scene when he’s standing there, hand caught, nothing to drink, nothing to eat, where his mind rushes back to the bottle of Gatorade laying in the back seat of his car. Oh, what he’d do for that Gatorade. There’s nothing funny about this story, obviously, but the way Boyle tells the story I can’t help but laugh. Even though there were lighthearted moments I was just waiting. I knew what was coming. The hand had to go. And he had to be the one to slice it off.
From the time I heard about Aron when he had his accident in 2003 I always said there’s no way I could do it. I’d just die there in that canyon. I don’t think I would have had the strength to survive what he did (not that I’ve been there to begin with). But watching him, how he had given up and knew he was dead, I understand how he did it. Not the physical how, but the emotional how. The physical how, well, that’s another story. Watching him snap his bones and hack away at his half dead arm, blood gushing out, just to get to the nerves, which he plucked like guitar strings as he screamed in pain. It is graphic and slow but I felt the relief with him and could breathe again.
The movie ended with a little about Aron and his life since 2003, but I still want to know more. I wonder if he will ever show the real videos? Probably not. “127 Hours” is probably intense enough anyway.