Plot summary (from the studio): 127 Hours is the true story of mountain climber Aron Ralston’s (James Franco) remarkable adventure to save himself after a fallen boulder crashes on his arm and traps him in an isolated canyon in Utah. Over the next five days Ralston examines his life and survives the elements to finally discover he has the courage and the wherewithal to extricate himself by any means necessary, scale a 65 foot wall and hike over eight miles before he is finally rescued.
Throughout his journey, Ralston recalls friends, lovers (Clemence Popesy), family, and the two hikers (Amber Tamblyn and Kate Mara) he met before his accident. Will they be the last two people he ever had the chance to meet?
A visceral thrilling story that will take an audience on a never before experienced journey and prove what we can do when we choose life.
Warning: Spoilers below!
- I was totally, utterly captivated for the first 30 minutes of this film. Danny Boyle set the story up extremely well, and showed us precisely the kind of person Aron was without going into long, boring exposition. It was amazing!
- The fall sequence was positively breathtaking. I’m not sure how they filmed it, but it looked so real that I caught my breath and said, “Oh my god!” out loud — even though I knew full well what this movie was about. Wow.
- Let’s face it: this was a totally inspiring story. Can you imagine being trapped for five days in a standing position with your arm completely crushed like that? All by yourself, knowing that it’s very unlikely anyone is even looking for you. Most people would have withered up and died. I know I would have. But Aron deserves a ton of credit for not only realizing what needed to be done but for having the strength and courage to actually go through with it. How many of us could intentionally break our arms and then saw through the flesh with a dull blade? One in a 100 probably — and Aron happened to be that guy.
- I’m not sure how close to reality this film was or how much Aron admitted in his book, but I loved that he never once felt sorry for himself. He got pissed, he got frustrated and angry, yeah. But he never melted down and had a “Why me?” pity party. Again, that was so completely opposite of how I would have handled things that I can’t help but appreciate it.
- The second act of this film dragged a little bit. Admittedly, sustaining the second act is a tall task for EVERY film, and was made even more difficult here because the filmmakers couldn’t introduce extra characters or new conflicts. The flashbacks and hallucinations got to be a bit boring — but I guess that’s to be expected when the scope is so narrow.
- I thought there would have been more of a physical reaction when Aron intentionally broke his arm so he could start sawing. I mean, he grimaced in pain, but that was it. I figured he would scream or cry or at least need a few moments to gather himself afterward. Instead, he just started attacking with the multi-tool. Maybe he was too weak at that point to muster up much of a reaction, but it still seemed odd to me.
I’m not sure why I waited so long to see 127 Hours, but I’m glad I finally got around to it. Plenty of films splash the word “Triumphant” across their promotional ads and posters, but few actually live up to that billing. This one does for sure, which is why I give it 4 stars out of 5.