- Running time:
- 93 minutes
- James Franco -
- Aron Ralston
- Amber Tamblyn -
- Kate Mara -
- Clémence Poésy -
- Treat Williams -
- Aron's Dad
Based on the incredibly true survival story of mountain climber Aron Ralston (James Franco), who was forced to amputate his own arm to save his life after being trapped under a boulder for days in Utah’s Blue John Canyon.
The buzz: Director Danny Boyle’s last movie was the multiple Oscar winning sensation “Slumdog Millionaire.” That breakout success has only heightened anticipation for this latest project from the unpredictable artist behind “Shallow Grave,” “Trainspotting,” “28 Days Later” and “Millions.” Oscar prognosticators are already expecting major nominations for “Hours,” including one for Franco’s intensely demanding performance. But there’s also uncertainty about how audiences will react to the amputation sequence. Early screenings have caused some viewers to literally pass out.
The verdict: A small story with enormous themes, “127 Hours” uses one man’s life-changing experience to neatly explore the struggles of society versus the wild, the physical versus the mental self and life versus death. It’s a brutal, visceral and uplifting journey that appeals equally to the mind, body and soul. And none of it would work without a star turn as commanding as Franco’s. In collaboration with Boyle and “Slumdog” screenwriter Simon Beaufoy, Franco makes Ralston the role of a lifetime—a flawed man who becomes heroic for what he realizes more than what he achieves. Boyle’s propulsive pacing and flashy visual style perfectly fit a film that stands in awe of nature but warmly embraces the necessity and value of contemporary society. Just as Ralston realized everything in his life had prepared him to face that crucial moment in the canyon, it feels like everything Boyle has done was leading up to this movie. He turns what could have been dry docudrama into an emotionally gripping work of art, and in doing so, crafts his best film yet.
Did you know? Ralston has never revealed the manufacturer of the cheap, dull multiuse tool he used for his amputation. It’s likely the company doesn’t mind, that’s not really the kind of story made for advertisements.
Movie theaters and showtimes for 127 Hours in Washington D.C..
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