365 High-Def Days of Oscar: Day 26
Best Adapted Screenplay
Best Original Score
Best Original Song
THE PLOT THUS FAR
A mountain climber becomes trapped under a boulder while canyoneering alone near Moab, Utah and resorts to desperate measures in order to survive.
WHAT WE THOUGHT
“127 Hours” chronicles the true story of Aron Ralston, a recklessly arrogant mountain climber whose arm gets crushed under a boulder during a trip through Utah canyon country. With no one coming to save him, he must decide whether he will die or fight for survival. 127 Hours delivers one of the most riveting and incredibly emotional experiences I have had in a theatre in some time. I was unsure Boyle and his crew could top their Oscar-winning work in Slumdog Millionaire, but this film improves upon it in every way possible. Because of all the talk about “the scene”, the majority of people will know how the film ends well before they even consider seeing it. But everything leading up to Aron’s life-altering decision is absolutely amazing and the stuff of pure filmmaking magic.
The human connection element was most fascinating, as we wonder what we would do if placed in a similar situation. We are really “with” Ralston on his journey, as we see him discover a reason to live and how his life perspective changes, not just how to get free from his predicament. The film manages to stay optimistic and warming, despite the frustration and angst felt by Ralston and viewers. And we certainly thank Boyle for some of the lighter moments that temper the severity of the situation.
The film does not shy away from tough choices and certainly keeps it “real” during the entire run, especially during the critical climax scene. Despite being stuck in place the movie is fascinating at the pace with which it moves and keeps the audience’s attention from start to finish. So while Ralston loves living on the edge, we see Boyle create this movie in a similar fashion, metaphorically speaking, as the intensity and gripping nature of Ralston’s circumstances comes alive and sucks us in.
Danny Boyle’s kinetic, energetic direction is a perfect match for Franco’s easy-going goofiness, and even when the film becomes grounded in the narrow canyon where Ralston was trapped, Boyle always keeps things interesting. He and co-writer Simon Beaufoy weave flashbacks and hallucinations into Ralston’s dilemma to great, heart-breaking effect, and the premonition that drives Ralston to finally dive whole-heartedly into amputating his own arm is breath-taking in its tenderness.
The Blu-Ray comes a digital copy and a ton of special features. You get a lengthy commentary from Danny Boyles, some featurettes and a few deleted scenes. Danny Boyle still doesn’t seem comfortable with his new A-List directing status. For a guy that spent a decade plus being an indie darling, you’d figure that he’d learned to embrace the prestige. This film is still plagued by the weird Tony Scott style aesthetic that ran rampant throughout Slumdog Millionare. Still, Boyle makes it his own and the bold visual choices sing with a reference quality 1080p transfer. This is a must-buy, people. Don’t let the arm slicing stop you from buying it.
RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW!