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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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Survival of the morally fittest.

  • Apr 16, 2011
**** 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. He's a born filmmaker, no doubt, and he should never stop doing what he loves. As for Franco, this is the man's best performance, and that should be incredibly complimentary on its own knowing how many good-and-great films Franco has starred in. Everything I say about this film shall be complimentary, and I will do so without spoiling the entire film.

The film is a biographical one which features hiker/climber Aron Ralston's run-in with fate. You might know the story; he ventured out for a day of climbing, and didn't come back quite as soon as he had planned upon having his hand crushed underneath a boulder.

Ralston did not intend for this to happen, but his gut and cockiness told him to. Yes, Ralston is an incredibly cocky, but likable fellow; and this film illustrates his battle against nature and his mental health quite well. Upon being trapped, Ralston rethinks his life, tapes his confessions and even his hallucinations, and slowly descends into madness as he fights for his right to survive.

There have been many films to depict struggles as extreme as this one, but few filmmakers would have approached it quite like Boyle does. I suppose that in a proper review for this film, one must discuss that "one scene", and if you know anything about this movie, you'll know which scene I'm so vaguely referring to. If you do not, then I'll save you some time: Aron amputates his own arm.

But it was, in fact, the only way to escape. Mr. Ralston would have died if he had not done this, and the fact that he did it in the first place alone makes this story so incredible. I did not think that any filmmaker outside of the dark, grimy underbelly of under-ground filmmaking would make a film as intense, emotional, and extreme as this one. The amputation scene is realistic, and that is why it will tempt most people to look away. I have heard some people refer to this scene as "torture porn-esque", and those people are idiots.

We're supposed to FEEL something whilst enduring this scene, and I definitely felt what I was supposed to feel. This is the first-and possibly only- film in 2010 to get me so darned teary-eyed, and that's an achievement on its own. The film turns out to be "The James Franco Show", although that's not a bad thing considering how much unimaginably honest humanity was put into Franco's thoughtful and emotionally wrenching performance. Boyle, of course, offers some beautiful eye-candy in the form of hallucinations and brilliant cinematography. Every shot is carefully thought-out, and incredibly artistic. But that's Boyle for you.

This film also marks an achievement in sound mixing and editing, because every noise just feels...realistic. This film feels real, human, and best of all, like a classic on-screen fight for survival. Humanity is seldom displayed as it is here, and this is one of the best movies of 2010. Franco has never been better, and neither has Boyle; although this is still tied with some of Boyle's other fine works. If you're a fan of either of the film's biggest performers, then "127 Hours" will be an entertaining and gut-wrenchingly emotional film. Yes, entertaining; because it can be quite entertaining when you're as involved as you are here. That is, if you're involved at all. Chances are you will be; and chances are, so was Boyle when he filmed the thing. I feel that the filmmaker has achieved something. Perhaps he has "filmed the unfilmable". Maybe. But just as they say "never say never", you should never say "it cannot be filmed". As Stanley Kubrick believed, anything can be filmed, as long as it can be written and thought. This film was written and experienced. And that is precisely why it was capable of being filmed.

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April 18, 2011
This was a great film for sure, Franco was excellent.
April 16, 2011
"I have heard some people refer to this scene as "torture porn-esque", and those people are idiots." I know, one cannot say that of something that you know involved limb-cutting.
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 . 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 …
review by . March 29, 2011
A cautionary tale
28-year old Aron Ralston was an experienced hiker and climber who set out for a day of fun in Canyonlands that changed his life forever.  He fell down a crevice, a boulder pinned his arm, and he was unable to free himself.  Over the next five days, Aron recorded his thoughts on his video camera and dreamed about his family and friends, then, with no food or water left, decided to end his ordeal.   This movie is filmed almost like a documentary, a virtual one-man show for James …
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
Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #11
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … 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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