The old saying, “Stuck between a rock and a hard place” never rang more true than the nightmare that mountain climber Aron Ralston had to endure. Stuck within the confines of Blue John Canyon, 127 Hours stars James Franco and is directed by Danny Boyle. The film takes place around April 25, 2003 in Utah’s Canyonlands National Park. This film is also part biography/part drama.
This movie is basically about Aron Ralston (played by James Franco) and the agonizing 127 hours he had to deal with being stuck in a canyon wall. Before he gets there though, as he is running through the canyon, he runs into two hikers Kristi (played by Kate Mara) and Megan (played by Amber Tamblyn). He takes them into a narrow passage which, when you drop, leads into a secret pool. After they disband, Aron heads towards Blue John Canyon. Unfortunately, as he falls down into the canyon, a boulder comes loose and pins his right arm against the canyon wall. After realizing that his calls for help are pretty much useless from where he is; he must ration the little water and food that he has. Thinking he has no way out, he begins recording himself on his video camera, basically saying goodbye to whoever should find it. After miraculously surviving five days in the canyon, he has an epiphany; in order to get out; he must do the unthinkable.
One aspect of the filmmaking which I thought was brilliant was the editing. For example, once Aron gets his arm pinned between the boulder and the canyon wall and begins not only screaming for Kristi and Megan but for help as well, the camera pans out to show that not only is he about 20 feet below the surface, he is out in the middle of the mountains, where there is literally nobody around. I also liked the editing when it shows Aron literally hallucinating about his family as well as the party he was supposed to attend with Kristi and Megan.
Another aspect of the filmmaking which I thought was excellent was the use of background music. In particular, the scene which I am referring to was when he does the unthinkable in order to free himself from the boulder. The background music really added to the suspense of it.
My overall reaction to this film was I thought it was excellent. I thought James Franco did a wonderful portrayal of Aron Ralston. The one scene where he frees himself from the boulder was very graphic as I had to turn my head away during the scene. As a matter of fact, two people at the Telluride Film Festival required medical attention while reactions were similar at the Toronto International Film Festival. This film is very similar to the 2000 film Cast Away starring Tom Hanks in that both films feature one guy, stuck in one area, forced to rely on the objects he has around him in his environment in order to survive. In other words, if you liked Cast Away, you should like this film.