Thursday, 24 February 2011

127 Hours

The 54 year-old Irish Catholic Danny Boyle, whose mother wanted him to become a priest, is a British film director that tells international stories, a director that sits out-with modern British film directors like Ken Loach, Mike Leigh, Shane Meadows and Andrea Arnold who generally work within the British convention of social realism, a style that normally deals with serious social issues, it’s a great shame that Boyle is not part of this tradition.

Film Poster.
A large audience at the RBC Film Club were witness to Mr Boyle’s latest offering 127 Hours (2010) adapted for the screen by Boyle and Simon Beaufroy (The Full Monty, Slumdog Millionaire). The consensus of opinion on Monday night was I believe, that the film was great and that most people enjoyed it. But there were one or two that did have reservations, me included. The movie, as most people are aware, is based on a real life incident involving 27 year-old engineer and part time mountaineer Aron Ralston, a man whom I think it can be generally agreed is full of him-self, a man whose more than happy with his own company, but a man who, when he goes off on one of his trips into the barren but beautiful Utah dessert, does not leave a note or tell a living sole where he is going. It was this attitude that very nearly leads to his demise when his arm got trapped behind a large unmovable boulder. Again it common knowledge to most viewers that he spent 5 days attached to this large lump of rock and eventually with a jolly blunt knife cut off the lower section of his right arm.

James Franco as Aron Ralston.
The movie certainly has its good points: a fantastic opening sequence involving overlapping shots of sports crowds, subway passengers and financial markets to differentiate the forthcoming isolation of the remote Blue John Canyon, a very commendable performance from James Franco as Ralston who is almost alone through out the length of the film. Its well made and has a good conclusion, some superb editing and the soundtrack is very well interwoven into the humour of this unnerving story.

So, what didn’t I like? Well the film, claustrophobic and unsettling as it was lacked excitement and did not grip, you can only watch a man stuck to a large boulder for so long with out loosing interest, especially when you’re quite aware of the outcome. There’s a great quote I found in one of the reviews, talking about Ralston’s adventure states “taking on the desert single-handed and to leave the desert single-handed” well I thought it was funny!! Similar films, other than the Saw franchise! would be Kevin MacDonald’s Touching the Void (2003) and Sean Penn’s film about the equally unlikable real life character Christopher McCandless Into The Wild (2007). Anyway let’s hope Danny Boyle can make a good job of his role as artistic director of the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics, the whole world will be watching.

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