We all know the ending of this real life story, but as the saying goes, it’s the journey and not the destination that matters. And the journey of Aron Ralston is incredible, made even more so by the fact that this actually happened to somebody.
The opening scenes, i.e. the ones before Aron gets stuck between a rock and a hard place as he describes it in his autobiography, show an upbeat, confident and life-loving man. All qualities which not only stand to him but ones that are tested to the extreme. It almost goes without saying, but Danny Boyle is a genius. You might think it would be difficult not to shoot the essence of the vast and alluring Wayne County in Utah, but Boyle didn’t just shoot, he captured. Lense filters and wide-angle shots give a David Attenborough nature documentary feel to the movie. He lures you into a cosy and safe environment only to whip the rug out from under you with the inevitable arm amputation scene.
Despite the horrific nature of what was happening, your mind isn’t entirely fixed on the gore. Well at one particular point it’s impossible not to recoil with anticipatory agony. But instead you are mostly thinking, frak… would I be able to do that? That’s what makes 127 Hours an exceptional film. Yeah, we know what happens but we almost feel it too. There were reports of people fainting at the Toronto Film Festival show.
Rumor had it that Boyle wanted Cillian Murphy for the role of Aron Ralston, but in the end James Franco plays it so well in this Tom Hanks Cast Away style role. Even Ralston himself was amazed at how accurate the film was.