127 Hours (Blu-ray)
Danny Boyle is a genius director. To follow up his 2008 hit, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, we are transported from the slums of Mumbai, India to the canyons of Utah where Boyle brings us the uniquely different 127 HOURS. With amazing cinematography, fantastic soundtrack and brilliant split screen shots he tells us the real life story of Aron Ralston (James Franco), a hiker and mountaineer who loses his arm after it gets caught between an 800 pound boulder and a canyon rock wall during a hiking trip.
The idea of watching a movie centered on one man’s monologue only to know we will eventually watch him chop off his arm doesn’t sound like something I would enjoy or want to watch. But neither did the idea of watching someone be tortured while playing Who Wants to be a Millionaire so I put my trust in Danny Boyle’s talent once again and gave this flick a go. WOW. Boyle does a brilliant job creating an intimate portrayal of an isolated man becoming unnerved while doing what he can to stay sane in order to survive. Boyle creates a connection between you and Aron causing you to become emotionally invested in his plight for survival.
Even knowing what is to come, you will get sucked into the amazing storytelling process. Through clever imagery of Ralston’s cold beverage hallucinations once the water supply situation becomes desperate I found myself with dry mouth craving something refreshing from the fridge. The switch between split screen shots, ‘regular’ camerawork and the handheld video camera to tell this story are all reasons why I am a huge fan of this film.
James Franco on the other hand, I did not really care for in this film. Don’t get me wrong, he did a tremendous job as the stuck and stranded hiker but sometimes I feel as though he selects characters that are not much of a reach for him. It’s semi acting, semi being himself but dressed as the character. Not having a personal relationship with Franco it’s hard to say whether or not this is a far cry from who he is as a person but that is the impression I have of him as an actor. I felt more of a connection to Ralston whenever the magic of movies was hard at work. Even when the blessed event of amputating his arm comes into play, I would not have thought that scene to be anything special except for when the musical ‘zing’ gives you the willies prompting you to cover your eyes. Not sure if I agree with the Academy for his nomination in this film but maybe I’m still harboring bad feelings from his flat job on his hosting gig of the Awards Show.
I guarantee you will develop an emotional connection to Ralston, find the opening sequence to be exhilarating while breathtaking and leave wanting more information than what you receive from the film such as real footage and stories from Ralston and specifics of what really went down. It pleases me to no end knowing that this story was in Boyle’s capable hands. Knowing this, how could I have misjudged this movie? Watch it and be sure to always leave a note to let people know where you are going. And call your mother back.
Video: (1.85:1 Widescreen)- Beautiful colors and crisp transfer.
Audio: (5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio)- Dialogue driven film and it sounded fine.
Feature Commentary with Danny Boyle, Christian Colson and Simon Beaufoy (1:33:41): The three men review choices they made with the film, where they stretched from reality and how they created assorted places, scenes and moments that don’t exist, and the work between getting the real feel of the canyon and the canyon they created.
Deleted Scenes (34:13): Seven deleted scenes, some remarkable and great but I’m guessing were cut due to time considerations. Other deleted scenes would have destroyed this movie. In the deleted scene Alternate Ending we learn the real life family that finds Aron Ralston is one and the same who find him in the movie.
Search & Rescue (14:51): An interview with real life Aron Ralston and those who participated in the search and rescue mission broken down into chronological order. Very interesting and heart warming.
127 Hours: An Extraordinary View (35:30): A behind the scenes look at filming the movie while Ralston is trapped in the canyon. Interviews with Boyle and Franco.
Short Film – God of Love by Luke Matheny (18:46): This is the 2011 Oscar winning Short Film. You might remember Franco giving a shout out to the NYU student (Matheny) after receiving the golden statue.