127 Hours comes from Danny Boyle who is a very good director. His works are very varied, ranging from 28 Days Later (2002) an infected people thriller to Sunshine (2007) a sci-fi adventure film to Slumdog Millionaire (2008) a feel good drama. This time the story is true which is incredible. It is a very interesting one and I think that the test for any movie inspired by real life events is the question: “Would the film still be good if the story wasn’t true?” and the answer in this case is YES.
I realized that I don’t really mention the plot at all in my film reviews. I say whether the plot is good or bad, but I never say what actually happens. Maybe that is a good thing but I’m not really sure. I’ll try telling a little about this plot. The main character Aron Ralston (James Franco) is an adrenaline junkie who goes canyon spelunking without telling anyone where he will be. He ends up getting his arm trapped under a boulder (it deserves an award for best villain of 2010) and that’s why we have this movie. Seeing this man’s will to survive is really amazing in itself. That’s all I’ll say about the actual plot, more than I usually say, but still hardly anything.
127 Hours takes place almost entirely in one very small location with just one person. There are other characters and locations but for the most part it’s just James Franco alone in a canyon. This might sound like it would be pretty boring but it’s not at all. The movie is kept interesting and thrilling through Danny Boyle’s creative and unusual camera techniques and music choices. There is a lot of juxtapositional music that works great. It even has the Scooby-Doo theme song included. The music is all very good and is both pre-existing songs and original score. There is a particular scene at the end of the film (which I’m pretty sure everybody knows about) but just in case you don’t I won’t spoil it. Just let me say that it’s truly cringe inducing!
James Franco’s performance is what really makes this movie great. He has done a lot of stupid comedies and has been written off as an OK at best actor, but that is just wrong. I put him in my top ten underrated actors list. He really knows how to act and this performance is undeniably great. He really shines in moments like the talk show that has him doing dual roles.
For me 127 Hours was one of the greatest films of 2010 and features one of the best singular performances of all time. I highly recommend it.