johnlink ranks 127 HOURS (2010)

I’m woefully behind on recent movies. I’ve seen none of this year’s Oscar flicks, and precious few of last year’s. 127 HOURS is one that I really have been wanting to see, as James Franco is an actor who used to be pretty mediocre, but who has really grown into a fine performer over the past couple of years.

I watched 127 HOURS (2010) on 2.22.12. It was my first viewing of the film.

I want to preface this by saying that I really do like Danny Boyle as a director. I am a big fan of his 28 DAYS LATER, SUNSHINE, and SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE. I think his work is nuanced and nicely stylized. However, he can’t get out of his own way in 127 HOURS. Some of his choices do work, (and that doesn’t even consider how beautifully shot the exteriors are). There is a subtle moment early on when Franco’s Aron Ralston is putting his pack together before going away for a weekend. He reaches into a cabinet and just misses a Swiss army knife. Something which would have been invaluable to have later. At another moment a non-diagetic sound effect is used to express extreme pain in a way which puts the audience in the mind of Ralston. A rain storm is used to great effectiveness, both in its on-screen execution and the desperation it places in the audience.

But for the most part, this is way over-directed. What I want to see is the survival story of Ralston who gets trapped alone in a cavern with his arm pinned by a rock. I want to see him go through the unthinkable to make it home. Instead, we have Boyle constantly reminding us that we are watching a movie. I’m not so annoyed by the hallucinations at the end, as I understand that is part of what happens to someone who is isolated and deprived of food and water. However, the constant triple-screen images and the style of the edits repeatedly pulls us from the story and reminds us that it is all just fiction.

Which is too bad, because Franco’s performance in this is tour-de-force. I could absolutely watch him try and survive for an hour and a half, even with some flashbacks to his memories. But instead Boyle wants to keep reminding us  of his presence.

The script is a little odd too. Once Franco escapes, his journey should really be extremely tough from there. Instead, it is all wrapped up very quickly. I don’t think that the middle act was too long at all, but the resolution was way too rushed.

I enjoyed this film, I really did. But it could have been so much better. While this is better than a lot of other shit thrown at the wall, I ultimately leave this film thinking of it as lost potential.

SCORES

FILM:4; MOVIE: 7; ACTING: 9; WRITING: 5

4+7+9+5+0=25

FINAL SCORE: 6.25

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~ by johnlink00 on February 23, 2012.

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