127 Hours (2010)

127 Hours poster


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127 Hours is the real life story of the hiker Aron Ralston. While hiking miles from town a rock falls and lands on his arm, pinning it to a wall. The movie focusing on Ralston's struggle to survive while his life flashes before his eyes. His situation also caused hallucinations. The movie climaxes as Ralston's determination to live forces him to cut off his own arm with a dull pocketknife and hike back to town.

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I was surprised when I found that, of the group that saw this with me, only I knew Aron Ralston's story. I originally read about Ralston in 2003 on The Best Page in the Universe. I thought it was an amazing story, so I read everything I could about him at the time. Ralston was an engineer who hated cubicle life, so he quit and became a tour guide; he loved hiking. After the events portrayed in the movie, he went back and had the arm cremated, creating a miniature memorial for it. The knife he used came from with a flashlight he bought. He never reveals the brand of knife, but he always replies that it's the kind of knife that you get free with a flashlight.

Except for a slight alteration in the beginning of the film, Ralston said, "The movie is so factually accurate it is as close to a documentary as you can get and still be a drama." (source)

My admiration for Ralston aside, I enjoyed 127 Hours. James Franco's performance was extraordinary. The makeup effects were well done. Franco looks more and more cadaverous as the movie progresses; it seemed very realistic to me.

According to Wikipedia, Danny Boyle, the director of this film as well as Slumdog Millionaire, had medical professionals guide the scene where Ralston cuts off his arm. Although I didn't find a proper source for that, I did find an article where experts deemed the effect realistic. The scene was done in one continuous shot.

I would rate this movie higher, but the way the movie is edited kept pulling me out of the experience. The movie goes into a three-panel split screen unnecessarily often. There are a lot of times where images and scenes are overlayed on top of each other. I usually like this technique when it is used effectively. I just felt that it was overdone in this film.

127 Hours is definitely worth watching. This film is based on Ralston's autobiography, Between a Rock and a Hard Place. It was published in 2004, which is after I read everything I could about Aron Ralston. It is now on my to-read list.

Final Verdict - 3/5