127 Hours (2010)

Starring: James Franco, Amber Tamblyn, Kate Mara, Clémence Poésy

Directed by: Danny Boyle

R. 93 mins

A nerve-clenching tale of survival that could have been much more affecting if the direction wasn’t excessively flashy. Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire) directs this true story of Aron Ralston, an outdoorsman who gets his arm trapped by a fallen rock in a deep canyon for days because he never told anyone where he was going in the first place. As we all know, he escaped (at the expense of his arm) but Boyle doesn’t allow more than a few minutes to pass without something else to distract us, as if feeling Ralston’s impending sense of doom would be unnecessary. Near the end we get a few glimpses into the protagonist’s true character and his relationships but they are far too limited for the audience to care for him outside of the stomach-churning reality of what he must do to survive. Franco delivers but outside the exhilarating climax there is an odd lack of emotional depth here and it’s really a shame since this story is so fascinating because it reaches our most basic need: survival at any cost. 127 Hours is a riveting experience but one that leaves me cold as it appears this is more Boyle’s chance to show off than to tell the story of Ralston’s harrowing ordeal and the implications it may have on his, and our, lives – * * * 1/2

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