Monday, 10 January 2011

12.7 Thoughts About 127 Hours

1. Went to see 127 Hours on Sunday at 4pm. Should be finished by midnight on Friday. (Apologies to those of you who already had to sit through this joke on twitter.)

2. The strapline is rubbish. Every Second Counts? Not only does it remind me of a sad old Paul Daniels quiz show, but the more you think about it, the more irrelevant it is.

3. True story films are hard to get right. 12 Hours follows a similar path to Touching The Void, but it's less documentary, more dramatisation.

4. James Franco has matured as an actor since Spider-Man. That said, Harry Osborn was a thankless role. 127's hero, Aron Ralston, allows Franco much more scope. A nod from Oscar would not be unexpected... especially as this is the kind of "triumph over adversity" stuff the Academy regularly wet themselves over.

5. Is it a spoiler to mention exactly what happens to Ralston... and how he eventually escapes his dire predicament? Many of the reviews I've read have done so, and there's an argument to say that audiences are better off knowing... particularly if they're squeamish... but if you don't want to know, feel free to bugger off now. Your enjoyment of the film might be better for it.

6. So Ralston (Franco) goes canyoneering alone in the Utah desert, gets his arm trapped beneath a falling boulder and the canyon wall, has no way of calling for help, very little food or water, survives 5 days entrapment without losing his mind... then, in desperation has to cut off his arm with a dull blade to escape.

7. Ouch.

8. No, really ouch. I've seen some pretty painful things happen to characters in films, but nothing quite as shudder-inducing as this. I challenge you to keep your eyes on the screen throughout the key scene... particularly when Franco's cutting through his tendons.

9. As you'd expect, this is pure "triumph of the human spirit" stuff, well played by both Franco and Boyle. It's not a film that'll surprise you - paragraph 6 is basically the entire plot - but it will move you.

10. That said, the "people need people" subtext (Ralston's predicament is made worse by the fact that he didn't tell anyone - friends or family - where he was going that day; the movie's closing line is "next time, I'll leave a note") grates a little. But that's just my misanthropy in action.

11. Boyle directs pain- and stress-induced hallucinations very well. Though I've never been in anything like the kind of pain Ralston must have been in here, I recognise the trippy freakouts he has from when I've lost consciousness myself on occasion. The Scooby Doo hallucination isn't quite as freaky as Touching The Boid's Brown Girl In The Ring moment though.

12. Like all Danny Boyle films, you'll walk out humming the soundtrack and discover a new favourite tune. This time it'll be Never Hear Surf Music again by New York electro-indie plebs Free Blood...

12.7. Jack Bauer would have ripped his own arm off in Hour 2, then used the bloody stump to beat a terrorist to death. Just saying...


Steve said...

"Jack Bauer would have ripped his own arm off in Hour 2, then used the bloody stump to beat a terrorist to death..." You need to be a script writer, Rol. I'd love to see you write stuff like the above for Emmerdale.

dave said...

Want to see it but went to Love and Other Drugs instead as was with the wife, who it appears would rather see Anne Hathaways marvelous breasts than a man cut his own arm off with a blunt penknife. From the clip I've seen he was using the tool for getting stones out of horses hooves instead of the actual knife, the goon


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