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127 Hours

A dramatic film directed by Danny Boyle, starring James Franco, and based on the true story of Aron Ralston who was trapped alone in the desert.

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The Man and the Mountain

  • Sep 25, 2010
Written by Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy
Directed by Danny Boyle
Starring James Franco

Aron Ralston: This rock has been waiting for me my whole life.

I thought that winning an Oscar might mellow SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE director, Danny Boyle but it only seems to have fueled his fire.  Before anything has a chance to happen in his latest, 127 HOURS, the screen is split into three and images of people going to work or running marathons are inundating the screen as rapid speeds.  I understand that he has his own style but I want to see Boyle just let the action unfold for a change, instead of just chopping it up and rearranging it visually to simply make it look cooler.  At times in Boyle’s career, it has felt like the images needed the overt style to become relevant or meaningful but this time is different.  Boyle has finally found a story that begs for his personal yet simultaneously impersonal touch.

127 HOURS is the story of an adrenaline junkie, a nature nut, a loner.  Forcing an image to wake the heck up and jump off the screen itself is akin to what protagonist Aron Ralston (James Franco) does whenever he can.  And when he can’t make that happen, he would almost rather be alone.  He seeks out thrill to elevate himself above the mundane just like Boyle tries to enhance his image.  When Ralston gets away from the city though and into the peaks and valleys of Blue John Canyon, Boyle slows his pace and allows the sheer grandness and beauty of the landscape to speak for itself.  And speak it does.  It asserts itself and its immovable brilliance by reminding man just who’s in charge here after all when it almost swallows young Ralston whole.

Ralston is a real person and in 2003, he spent a sum total of, you guess it, 127 hours literally stuck between a rock and hard place when a rock fell with him into a cavernous gap and crushed his arm against the wall.  Franco’s journey as Ralston is rarely easy to bear and sometimes just as difficult for us to take as well.  His spirit goes from exuberant to painfully sober to near delirium and he carries it off with a strength I’m not the least bit surprised to see.  Boyle was sure to lighten the tension with flashbacks that inform us of exactly everything Ralston still has to live for, which in turn teaches him a thing or two about how to actually live for it.  The point may be somewhat plain but the experience that is 127 HOURS is a testament to an amazing feat of human endurance and perseverance, as well as an adventure that won’t soon be forgotten.

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February 19, 2011
I know someone who'd love this film. Well, I hope it's not 127 hours but something less than 127 mins would be fine for me ;-)
February 26, 2011
Hehe, very cute. It is actually only about an hour and a half. Boyle was smart to keep it tight. People could not stay in that same location for too long without losing interest. Plus what happens there is intense so you don't want stay in that frame of mind for too long either.
February 26, 2011
Oh, I saw it on disc already! It's really great! Here's my review:
October 10, 2010
Joseph, my friend-- I am slowly working through your TIFF reviews--you are just so efficient! I am marking this as "must check out". Thank you so much and did you see this week's spotlight in the newsletter?
October 12, 2010
James Franco is only getting better. I am loving his film choices.
More 127 Hours reviews
review by . April 04, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
We Often Find Ourselves At Our Strongest During Our Weakest Moments....
 I can almost guarantee that most everyone had seen and heard the news reports about the search for Aron Ralston and the harrowing experience he had gone through. Most of the details of his time in the Canyonlands National Park in Utah were shared in his autobiographical book called “Between a Rock and a Hard Place” that has inspired this film. Co-written and directed by Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire), “127 Hours” was critically acclaimed and gave James Franco a best …
review by . February 25, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Epitaph in Blue John Canyon: Aron Ralston (1975-2003)
What's the odd of being stranded in the bottom of a Canyon solo and then having a boulder fall on you and trapped your hand in between?! That's one in a trillion chance, isn't it?      The footage in this movie is simply awesome! I love Canyons and have been to a great many in the U.S. but I would never dream myself of being trapped the way Aron Ralston was. And the story of the movie goes on to show how he survived it after 127 hours (5 days or so) of life threatening …
review by . April 16, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
**** out of ****     Danny Boyle is one of the most ambitious and talented filmmakers in the business, today. He made "28 Days Later" and "Slumdog Millionaire", both wonderful, and now he has made "127 Hours". But this time, there is not one, but two men behind all the magic. James Franco stars in this film, and he acts as Boyle's other. Without Boyle, Franco would be screwed; and without Franco, so would Boyle (maybe). I know Boyle as a stylistic genius and powerful story-teller. …
review by . February 17, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
A true story, that had only started to fade from our memory was brought back to our attention by James Franco and Danny Boyle and is now up for a couple of awards. 127 Hours tells the story of Aron Ralston, a 27-year old climber, who trapped his right arm between a boulder and the wall of a small slot canyon in the vast Arizona desert. While your choice to go to this movie or to stay away may be based on the climax, you would be foolish to judge this movie on that scene alone.   …
review by . January 06, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
   Danny Boyle deserves all the credit in the world for this directorial achievement. Personally, I think he did an outstanding thing taking on a subject which is hard to put on screen for one hour and half and keep you interested in the character and keep things entertaining: the true story of Aron Ralston, a mountain climber who had to resort to one of the most desperate measures in order to fade death.      A profound survival story that doesn't get too melodramatic …
review by . May 06, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
A Real Ordeal Becomes a Fascinating Stream-of-Consciousness Survival Story
Watching the first twenty minutes of 127 Hours I was repelled by what I was watching, and not just by Aron Ralston's rope, either.  It doesn't help a review when you want to be uplifted and inspired after a long, hard day at work.  What started as his ordeal became mine and will most likely become yours as the aforementioned protagonist climbs through the arid, rocky, rugged redish-orange Utah terrain.  Experienced, yet unsuspecting, the lone hiker falls into a cavern with …
review by . December 31, 2010
It's not often that I see a preview that grabs me as much as the one for "127 Hours" did. Scenery straight out of a Road Runner cartoon, excitement, adventure, and... hey, wait a minute, this isn't about that guy who... oh crap, it IS about that guy. Yes, THAT guy, the one who got trapped by a boulder while hiking in a remote area of Utah and cut off his own arm to free himself. I remember reading about him - his name is Aron Ralston -- when this happened in 2003. I also remember …
Quick Tip by . March 22, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
James Franco just keeps rising as one of the most interesting and underrated actors in Hollywood. Ever since seeing him play James Dean in a made-for-TV biopic, I've been watching him very carefully as he chooses his roles. For a while he got a lot of supporting and a few leading parts in big budget action films, but he's showing his acting abilities lately in more independent and character driven films. Last year was a good year for Franco as he starred in two great films (the other being …
review by . January 01, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
I think there is inherent in mountain climbers and outdoor thrill seekers a certain degree of arrogance. To subject yourself to extreme environmental conditions and believe that you’re capable of taking them on requires a great deal of confidence, if not something of a superiority complex. I say this as someone who has never scaled a mountain and has absolutely no intention of ever doing so; perhaps it’s coming from a place of jealousy, since being unwilling to take a risk has not allowed …
Quick Tip by . March 22, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
REALLY well done film. Went in very skeptical of how they could make a two hour film from a guy stuck under a rock... and a story for which we already know the ending. Both director and actor made for a phenomenally visceral ride -- very hard to watch (not for reasons you'd expect actually), but really well made.  LOVE this director's unique and palpable style!! I was left with the same feeling I had after watching Slumdog Millionaire... boy would I love to see a movie THIS good every …
About the reviewer
Joseph Belanger ()
Ranked #8
Hello Lunchers. I am a thirty-something guy making his way in Toronto. I am a banker by day and a film critic the rest of the time. Sensitive, sharp and sarcastic are just a few words that start with … more
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About this movie


127 Hours is the true story of mountain climber Aron Ralston's 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 can be rescued. Throughout his journey, Ralston recalls friends, lovers, family, and the two hikers he met before his accident. Will they be the last two people he ever had the chance to meet? Written by Fox Searchlight Pictures  
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Director: Danny Boyle
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Thriller
Release Date: 28 January 2011 (USA)
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: Danny Boyle, Simon Beaufoy
Runtime: 94 min
Studio: Cloud Eight Films, Film4, Everest Entertainment
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