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127 Hours review

REVIEWS - MOVIES

Closing out the London Film Festival is a vertiginous outing from Danny Boyle...

James Franco in '127 Hours'

The eagerly anticipated follow up to Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire is yet another triumph for director Danny Boyle. The Manchester-born filmmaker has teamed up once more with screenwriter Simon Beaufoy, producer Christian Colson, and composer AS Rahman to create a masterful account of mountain climber Aron Ralston’s epic 127 hour struggle for freedom after his hand was pinned by a displaced boulder in the near-deserted Blue John Canyon in Utah.

Mumbai, this is not.

It is to Boyle's credit that the hour spent alone with actor James Franco in the narrow crease of rock manages to find plenty of ways to entertain. The main tools at his disposal are music and comedy, both of which are spot on, as well as the judicious use of flashbacks to demonstrate how seemingly insignificant moments in Ralston's life can replay themselves in his desperate attempt to maintain sanity.

However, if the bulk of the film rests on the fearless climber’s struggle, the best moment comes in the set-up, when he gives an impromptu guided tour of the canyon to two lost young American women. Suffice to say there is a huge drop involved, and, unless you are used to that kind of thing, your heart is likely to beat a little faster.

Boyle will take all the kudos here, but a great deal of the credit ought to be shared with Franco whose warmth, charm and wit are embodied in the sheer emotional investment he gives to his character.

This is one of those rare films where most of us will already know the outcome before they step into the cinema. It really doesn't matter, and only serves to demonstrate the art of filmmaking at its supreme best as the incredible events slowly unfold and play out amidst the wondrous backdrop of the canyon.

127 Hours is not a perfect film, but in its unflinching portrayal of 'human versus nature' it allows Boyle to employ all the skills he has learnt over the last thirteen years. Therefore, for posterity's sake as much as your Saturday night's entertainment, this is a film you really ought to watch.

4 stars

See also:

127 Hours Blu-Ray Review


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