This is one of the few films I have ever reviewed where I start and go “Do I really want to do this?”
Initially, I was excited – a James Franco/Danny Boyle project is a can’t miss, a sure film for me to not only enjoy but embrace. It was one of those I had circled on my list as a “I can’t wait for this”. Then I started, and the moment – the VERY MOMENT – I started the film, I felt a pang of regret. It was like being a kid, getting to the top of the roller coaster in the very front car, looking down that big first drop and knowing there is no way for this to stop, its too late – your in for the ride. Throughout the entire opening credits right up until the film’s title, thats how I felt; taken in along for the ride until we were on top of that second hill, and I knew everything was ok for now.
Danny Boyle’s multi-layered multimedia film creation is something of a wonder. By using a scripted piece, like Ralston’s own camera, and other stylized elements, we see a unique vision as trapped in an inescapable place; he sets the score straight by Utilizing what appeared to be film in the daydreams, flashbacks, hallucinations, and nightmares, and video for things shown in real-time. The schism he creates between the falseness of dreams, and the fears of reality give an additional layer to an extreme screenplay.
“127 Hours” is adapted from Aron Ralston’s book “Between a Rock and a Hard Place” and from all intents and purposes, the author has said it was very well and accurately adapted. As lonely as this script (and book) could have been, featuring a man alone in the wilderness (see: Castaway) the dreams, fantasies, and delusions give this an extra wrinkle that make this not only interesting but keeps you on the edge of your seat. Much like Titanic, we all know the plot line to this, and how it ends; unlike Titanic, this film was actually good.
(Obligatory annual James Cameron bash – completed)
None of this would have been made possible without the performance of James Franco. Of my generation, I consider him to be one of the finest straight forward actors. In this, carrying a larger then normal portion of the film, he never struggled under the weight – instead creatively thriving with it, allowing the character to bounce, balance and go different places under his imaginative guidance.
All in all – solid film. But for an Oscar, you need to be more then solid.
Next: The Social Network