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127 Hours

April 21, 2011

Hello all. Mark here. I love love love this film. Surprisingly, the first time I watched it I thought it was decent. However, I watched it again and totally enjoyed it. Danny Boyle is my hero. 28 Days Later, Trainspotting and Sunshine are some of my favorite films. Turn off the lights, Shut off your phone and immerse yourself in this great flick.

Read the great review by John below.

127 Hours

By John Leavengood

MY CALL:    Like director Danny Boyle’s past triumphs, 127 Hours is a test of visual and auditory captivation.  Everyone will enjoy this extraordinary sensory experience, even if briefly taken aback by the scene that made this story newsworthy.  Franco is nothing short of amazing in a role where the camera has little else on which to focus, thus magnifying any faults in his performance—if you can find any.  This is an “A” film which tells a simple survival story in a cerebral, human and magnificent manner.

IF YOU LIKE THIS, WATCH:    Plenty of movies offer thrills, but Boyle will place more than just your ass on the edge of your seat.  If you like having your senses on their toes, then try his other films: Sunshine, Slumdog Millionaire, The Beach, Trainspotting, and 28 Days Later.

Not that this had me worried, but the first few minutes of this movie are filmed and edited like the opening scene of a light-hearted, college road trip-style movie.  You know?  Like you’d see lots of high jinks and cheap laughs from coarse humor.  But that is just the unique styling of director Danny Boyle, who brought us Sunshine, Slumdog Millionaire, and many others—all of which delivered a trippy, psychological experience through creative use of brightness effects.  Sounds ranging from panic breaths echoing as if inside of a hollow cranium to the employment of ironic score haunt, engage and confuse us (notably peaceful music when faced with imminent death or invigorating pop while in a daze recounting the events of one’s youth).  Here the opening scene’s colors glow as an eye-grabbing city montage fast-forwards across the screen to an addictive rhythm.

The scenery is stunning, making the job of the cinematographers a bit easier.  However, I’ve been to Canyonlands National Park and I must say that I am shocked that a film crew could do justice to what my eyes have seen with film and equipment of any quality.

This aesthetically pleasing movie tells the brave survival story of adventurer Aron Ralston, played by James Franco.  Depicted as having not but a care in the world, we observe Aron maneuvering the dubious landscape of Canyonlands deftly, clumsily, and respectfully.  He entertains a pair of young hikers and we see how personable, sharing and life-loving he is.  But they will part ways, Aron will be back on his own, and then “it” will happen.

Up until this point I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen because of how visually appealing the movie was.  Now, I still can’t, but the reason has changed considerably.  Now the score transforms readily with Aron’s mood, whether fearful, industrious, determined or desperate, as he records journal entries with updates of his escape efforts.  His occasional episodes of fantasy feel reminiscent of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas with a Euro-MTV soundtrack.  It feels delusory, but positive at times these memories and dreams serve to maintain his sanity.  There are also some candid, humorous moments of acceptance, with darker intermissions, in his aside-like entries.

The remainder of the movie gets very intense, VERY FAST.  The self-surgery scene is NOT, NOT, NOT for the feint.  It is also not short, nor is the surgery site camera shy.  But this is the crux of the movie, so make sure your girlfriend watches!  After all, it will end on an uplifting, feel-good note.  It honestly made me feel, well, just “good”.

I’m glad I watched this.  You should, too.

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