DENNIS SCHWARTZ 
IS THERE ANY GOOD 
IN SAYING 
EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?

 
127 Hours (director/writer: Danny Boyle; screenwriters: Simon Beaufoy/based on the book “Between a Rock and a Hard Place” by Aron Ralston; cinematographers: Anthony Dod Mantle/Enrique Chediak; editor: Jon Harris; music: A. R. Rahman; cast: James Franco (Aron Ralston), Amber Tamblyn (Megan), Kate Mara (Kristi), Clémence Poésy (Rana), Kate Burton (Aron’s Mom), Treat Williams (Aron’s Dad), Lizzy Caplan (Sonja); Runtime: 95; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Christian Colson/Danny Boyle/John Smithson; Fox Searchlight Pictures; 2010)

 
"To me, the other miracle besides the survival of Aron, is that this static film held together for over ninety minutes without completely faltering."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz 

Danny Boyle ("Slumdog Millionaire"/"28 Days Later"/"Trainspotting") directs this amazing true survivalist tale based on the youthful carefree adventurer Aron Rosten's memoir “Between a Rock and a Hard Place,” with the creative screenplay by Simon Beaufoy and Boyle. It chronicles the five days in April 2003 when the cocky thrill-seeker outdoors-man Aron Rosten (James Franco) was in the stunningly beautiful area of Blue John Canyon, Utah, to go rock climbing alone for the weekend and got trapped when he slipped and fell into a crevice and a boulder pinned his right arm to the wall. While unsuccessfully trying to chisel his way out of the predicament with a dull penknife and then unsuccessfully trying to operate a pulley system to lift the rock off him, the unfortunate youth, who told no one where he was going, felt he had little hope to be rescued and though depressed tried to make the best of things by fantasizing he was on a radio program being interviewed as a superhero. The energetic lad only had a small amount of food, a bottle of water (which was about to run out) and a video camera he kept running.

To extricate himself, Aron has to amputate his arm with his penknife. He then scales a 65 foot wall and hikes over eight miles before rescued. Throughout his ordeal, Aron flashbacks on his parents (Treat Williams & Kate Burton), his sister (Lizzy Caplan), his ex-girlfriend (Clémence Poésy), and his fun-loving friends in his hometown in Colorado. Aron also is reminded of the two pretty party-girl lost hikers (Amber Tamblyn & Kate Mara) he met in the isolated desert region before his accident and how they swam together in an underground natural pool.

Boyle does a good job filming a story that is lacking in narrative, has no depth and is not an easy one to film because it's so static. Nevertheless despite it being a static film, it's filled with involving imaginative memory and fantasy sequences that are splendidly visual.  But there's really never much more to say than thank goodness this likable, tough-minded, goofy, twentysomething, a trained engineer, survived through his own gutsy actions, and to think if I were in his place I couldn't conceive of amputating my arm (I couldn't even watch it on film). To me, the other miracle besides the survival of Aron, is that this static film held together for over ninety minutes without completely faltering. 

REVIEWED ON 12/4/2010       GRADE: B

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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