While not an easy film to watch, “127 Hours” is ultimately rewarding. The film tells the real-life story of a reckless climber named Aron Ralston, who becomes trapped under an 800 lb bounder in a remote canyon near Utah’s Canyonlands National Park. Of course, he’s alone and has told no one where he was going. The film stars James Franco and is directed by Danny Boyle, who won an Oscar in 2008 for “Slumdog Millionaire.”
When the film made its debt in 2010 on the film festival circuit, I have to wonder if it wasn’t more effective, due to audiences being less-familiar with Ralston’s story. With the film competing for Oscars this past winter, most movie-goers became familiar with the fact that [spoiler] Ralston lives, albeit minus one of his forearms. Ralston’s life isn’t necessarily one to envy, but he has since gone on to be a best-selling author and commands $25,000 for public speaking engagements. Knowing that things will work out – at least mostly work out – robs the films of some of its drama. As an audience member, we’re left ultimately waiting for his character to give up and start cutting off his forearm. Knowing in advance how it ends, it is brutal to watch the film unfold, as Ralston’s failed attempts to free himself become torturous.
As dark as the film becomes, it does manage to generally keep as light of a heart as one possibly could. Research online shows the film to be incredibly accurate, with Ralston calling it as close to a documentary as one could expect to ever have. Despite everything – or perhaps in spite of it – the ending is quite powerful and uplifting. While the film couldn’t necessarily be called ‘feel good,’ it is a fascinating portrait of someone being resourceful in a dire situation.