Film Review: James Franco, Danny Boyle Elevate Harrowing Saga of ‘127 Hours’

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CHICAGO – What separates us during extreme danger? Why do some people collapse under the weight of likely death while others push forward and make it out alive? What fuels the will to survive to the point that it can do the unimaginable? Aron Ralston has surely thought about his personal answers to these questions and Danny Boyle’s riveting film about his defining incident, “127 Hours,” now brings them to millions of captivated fans in theaters around the world.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.5/5.0
Rating: 4.5/5.0

With a career-best and possibly Oscar-worthy lead performance from James Franco, “127 Hours” tells Ralston’s amazing story in a way that only Boyle could do. One of our most “alive” filmmakers uses that energy to both transport us to a nightmarish situation and give us not just the desire but the need to make it out alive. At its best, “127 Hours” is transporting in the way it puts us right in the middle of Aron Ralston’s ordeal and perfectly conveys what forced him to make a decision that many of us couldn’t conceive.

StarRead Brian Tallerico’s full review of “127 Hours” in our reviews section.

Much has been made about the festival responses to “127 Hours” that have included people passing out during the climactic scene in which Ralston self-amputates his arm in order to save his life. Why has there been such a visceral response? It’s not purely the gore or the intensity of the scene. There’s gorier material on basic cable. It’s the fact that by the time “127 Hours” reaches that headline-grabbing moment, Boyle, Franco, and the team behind the film have made Aron real. He’s not just another character. We cringe and some of us even pass out because we feel like it’s genuine. There’s something amazing about being able to shock the generally-jaded audiences of 2010. “127 Hours” can be pretty amazing.

As you might imagine, the plot of “127 Hours” is pretty straightforward: It’s the way that Boyle, Franco, cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle, and writer Simon Beaufoy (both Oscar winners for “Slumdog Millionaire”) build upon the foundation of well-known plot that makes the film a success. One day, Aron Ralston (James Franco) went out for climbing and hiking. He slipped on a boulder into a chasm and his arm was pinned underneath an immovable rock. He made a decision that would make most of us dizzy to even consider.

StarContinue reading for Brian Tallerico’s full “127 Hours” review.

‘127 Hours’ stars James Franco, Amber Tamblyn, and Kate Mara. It was written by Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy and directed by Boyle. It opens in Chicago on November 12th, 2010. It is rated R.

127 Hours
127 Hours
Photo credit: Fox Searchlight

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