The Flick Chicks

Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

127 Hours

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127 Hours

If anyone knows about being stuck between a rock and a hard place in the most literal sense, it is Aron Ralston who survived his worst nightmare during a mountain climbing excursion in Bluejohn Canyon near Moab, Utah in April of 2003. After his story made the news, he appeared on TV and then went on to write a book about his true-life ordeal.

That horrific experience, which cost him part of his right arm, is adapted to the screen by director Danny Boyle from a script he co-wrote with his Slumdog Millionaire collaborator Simon Beufoy.

To begin with, Ralston (James Franco) an intelligent but cocky young man, did a stupid, foolish thing by leaving his apartment one morning without letting anyone know where he was going and what his itinerary was before he slipped on his backpack, got on his bike and set out alone to the beautiful, but dangerous terrain.

Even worse and unimaginable, is that he didn’t take along a cell phone; a lesson he learned the hard way and most assuredly will never forget.

The only people Aron would encounter on the day of the accident were a pair of pretty, young hikers, Kristi (Kate Mara) and Megan (Amber Tamblyn) with whom he shared some good clean fun with the highlight being an exhilarating dip in an underground lagoon.

Shortly after they parted ways, Aron found himself in a devastating predicament when he accidently slipped and fell between a narrow crevice and had his arm pinned beneath a boulder that was too heavy to move. For the next five days he was stranded in the middle of nowhere with little food and water and a few useful tools including a cheap, less than sharp pocket knife, some rope, some climbing tackle, and a video camera which he employed to record his harrowing ordeal.

As minutes turned to hours and days slowly slipped by, he had to do his best to stay calm, keep his wits and not lose focus while trying to figure a way out. Aron began chipping away at the boulder with his small pocketknife, which only caused the rock to dig deeper into his arm. Eventually, he came to the realization that he was forced to sever his arm above the wrist in order to free himself, scale a 65 foot wall and seek rescue.

Considering the circumstances, in which anyone would see their life flashing before their eyes, we get to watch Aron view his life through flashbacks and hallucinations that pack an emotional punch and give us a deeper glimpse into Ralston’s carefree personality and regrets as a son, brother, friend and boyfriend along with a vision of his future.

Be forewarned. The amputation scene is not easy to watch. It is what it is; gory and bloody, but not as graphic as I expected, though moviegoers who have a weak stomach and are squeamish should close their eyes or look away.

That said, ‘127’ Hours is marked by a fantastic performance from James Franco who has become one of the best character actors of his generation. Intense and gripping, the film delivers a life-affirming message. The best thing is we get to share an amazing fight for life experience for only a couple of hours rather than the 127 that Ralston had to endure.