I agree with Roger Ebert. 127 Hours is a true feat, as Danny Boyle is able to film “the unfilmable.” As I said in an earlier post, I wasn’t sure how they were going to film Aron Ralston‘s story–not just because of the gore-factor, but also because it’s basically one character, in one spot, all the time. That’s exactly what it entails. And that’s exactly what is needed.
James Franco does an amazing job of portraying Ralston, his right hand pinned by a boulder for 127 hours. I knew going in that the carnage would be prevalent. It is, though not pervasive. It’s unavoidable, though certainly not gratuitous, and I think Boyle could have gone further with it.
The partnership between Franco and Boyle demonstrates a perfect in front of and behind the camera balance. Franco is despondent, panic-stricken, introspective, providing the lightest touch of comic relief at times. His facial expressions conveyed deep pain and turmoil with great subtlety. He really sold it.
Danny Boyle made me thirsty. While Franco was parched, giving his all to sell his desperation, Boyle made exceptional use of camera angles–a view from within the water bottle or straw, Franco’s tongue searching for the last drops of water. Additionally, he used a lot of stock footage to great effect, lots of fantasizing about drinking, rain, really doing a great job of planting that desire in the audience. He also incorporated hallucination, foreshadowing, and flashback to great effect, cutting in and out seamlessly, but not distracting.
I greatly enjoyed this film. It’s stressful, but I empathize with Franco throughout, and I would not be surprised to see his name included in the nominees for Best Actor along with Boyle’s for Best Director.