I know this isn’t a graphic novel, but I thought I’d write a review on a movie that I really enjoyed.
I just finished watching 127 hours about half n’ hour ago – I always find that’s the best time to write a review, when it’s fresh in my mind. This world is such a bombardment of information, movies, tv, books – and I’m a slave to all those things unfortunetly. Dave, my husband, will probably want to watch another movie tonight, and I don’t want to forget any of what I just saw. I mean, right now, my folks are screaming up and down the stairs to each other, the TV is on (‘Dancing with the stars’ – obviously my Mother’s chose – not mine!) – noise is my enemy right now, and I will fight through it all to write about what I thought about this movie.
Firstly, the movie is based on a book- “Between a rock and a hard place” by Aron Ralston. I remember selling hundreds of the book when it first came out at Borders – it was one of those books that every reader of Literature that works in a bookstore hates. It was a popular book – one that fell in the same category as “He’s just not that into you” and “The Secret” – it was a book that those who were lazy, or those who were easily lead astray by great publicity snatched up and bought – these people probably still have it on their bookshelves unread. Obviously, I didn’t have much respect for the title, I mean, it was kind of like “He’s just not that into you” – the title said it all – and in this case, the picture on the front said it all. Yeah, he was caught by a huge rock in the middle of no where, but obviously, he survived to tell the tale – no suprises here.
When I heard the book was being turned into a movie, I think I groaned out loud. “Great,” I thought, “another one of those will-they-want-they survival tales. It’s either they die, or they don’t, and usually, you know which from the reviews anyway.” But, when I heard that Danny Boyle and James Franco were connected to the project, I quickly became interested in seeing the film.
I’m a huge fan of Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire is one of my favourite movies – it’s so powerful, fun and colourfull. And Franco, well, I believe he’s a lot like Elijah Wood – the smart girls heart throb – sure, he’s hot, but he’s got the brains to back up why geeky girls like myself get weak at the knees (during a making of special feature of 127 Hours that came with the Blu-Ray, Franco talked about how he always had a book with him on set, and they showed him reading – and that, my friends is so hot! If you want to see his tastes in books, check out this article) and Franco also starred in my all-time favourite tv-show, “Freaks and Geeks” – so with a team like Boyle and Franco, of course I was interested!
So, when we were at JB HI-FI last week, and Dad was searching for a couple of good Blu-Rays for us to watch together, I snatched up a copy of 127 Hours (along with a few others, like Fantastic Mr. Fox and The Fighter the latter which I have seen, and totally recommend) – It’s a funny movie, because when you describe what happens, people usually have the same reaction I did many years ago when I found out the synopsis of Ralston’s book – “Um…ok, so it’s like a story about this dude that chops his arm off…sounds gruesome and boring.” I had been on the net to check out a few reviews, and audiences seemed to think only two ways about it – they loved it, thought it was inspirational, Boyle was a visonary, and Franco deserved the Oscar, or that it was the most tedious pointless movie they had ever seen, it was self-indulgent and not even a fine proformance like Franco’s could save it from being a bore-fest. I was a bit nervous about sitting down today to watch it, I mean, Blu-Ray’s aren’t cheap, and I’d thrust the copy of 127 Hours into my Dad’s hand promising
that it was going to be amazing…I mean, it had been nominated for an Oscar! (I LOVE the Oscars – every year around Oscar time I promise myself to watch every Oscar nominated movie, and then throw an Oscar party on the night, with Oscar shaped treats, and get all dressed up with my mates and have ballot polls and see who picks the most winners and who gets the most wins an Oscar related prize!…of course, all these grand plans have yet to be put into action!) Sitting in front of the TV, with the Blu-Ray about to do it’s thing, I hoped it wasn’t going to be a disappointment like so many other ‘amazing movies before it – like There shall be blood (which is one of the only movies that I really wanted to walk out of – too bad Nova was filled to capacity and Dave and I had our shopping bags at our feed, or else we would have!) and No country for old men before it.
I’m happy to say that I was totally right in thinking that the movie would be awesome. The reason why I loved it so much was that Boyle took a situation that in all essence, could have been pretty damn tedious and all about waiting - waiting for that pivitol moment of the self-surgery that would release Ralston’s from his prison. Even thinking about it, I find it amazing that he pulled it all off! But, he totally does – he takes all those elements and he makes the audience really feel for the character – and I guess that goes back to my old belief, the belief that I keep on harping on about on this blog – that characterisation is so damn important! You feel for Aron because for the whole film, you are there with him. You are in that tiny cove watching Franco struggle, physically and emotionally with
the situation around him. – In the making of, you actually see that the rock formation was a set that was an exact replica of the one in which Ralston was caught in. The set was fixed, which means none of the rocks could be moved, so the cameras only had the space in which Ralson was actually stuck to move around in. Boyle’s decision to do this, I believe, totally made the movie. When watching the making of, Franco actually tells Boyle that in such a confined environment he felt like he was going crazy, making him realise, in some small way of course, what Ralston psychological state must have been.
Like any Boyle movie, it is a colourful watch, filled with sounds and music that heightens the experience for the audience. The way in which Boyle brings Ralston’s feelings to life, is through his interaction with the social mediums that he has with him. He has in his backpack a camera and a video camera. Ralston actually also had these mediums on him, and they were the only connection he had to the outside world. It’s interesting, because for the majority of the movie, we don’t know anything about Ralston. We understand that he is a thrill seeker, but we have no idea what he does for work, if he’s got a partner, any family etc etc. The information is unleashed near the end of the movie through snippets of video footage that Ralston makes, and also through halluctinations. The former shows what is going through Ralston’s mind, but the latter shows what is going on subconsciously, and really discusses what is the most important events and the most important things in his life. Being introduced to this pivitol information latter in the movie works really well what with the subject is at
hand – Ralston is a man who believed (in the movie,I’m not sure if it is in real life, as, like all movies, there was some artistic license from Boyle) that he could do everything by himself. He thought he didn’t need anybody to help him, he was careless (a great example of this is when he’s getting ready to leave for his hike, and he just leaves the water running into his water bottle, not even pausing in his rapid action of getting his things together to turn the tap off. Of course, later on, water becomes, as Boyle has said, “like a God” within the movie – he becomes a slave to his need for it, and he fantasises constantly about being absolutely drenched in water, soft drink, beer etc.) and he didn’t believe the people around him could help him in any way. I guess he perferred to fly solo. I love the way in which Boyle exercises Ralston’s flashbacks – they are not linear, they do not give you all the answers, but they do give you enough of a glimpse into what Ralston’s life would have been like.
And there, I leave you. I don’t want to give too much away about the movie, and I feel that if I delve any deeper this shall occur. One last bit of inf0 – if you do purchase the movie on Blu-Ray watching the making of is a MUST – it really gives you a great insight into where Boyle and Franco wanted the movie to go. There’s also some great footage of Boyle really getting into watching Franco perform – full on facial expressions and all! – Enjoy, and let me all know what you think/thought!