In theaters this weekend is Danny Boyle's highly-acclaimed "127 Hours", written by Simon Beufoy, and starring James Franco. Allow me to bring an older review back to the surface in order to share my thoughts on this wonderful movie (I updated the review, however).
On Sunday, September 12, 2010, I was lucky to be among the first 500 people to see the world premiere of "127 Hours", at the Toronto International Film Festival. This film marked my first film festival experience, and-- due to its great impact-- it will be impossible to forget. It's definitely one of the most intense and inspiring films I have ever seen. But on top of being a real nail-biter, it's also very emotional and deeply humane.
In all honesty, I wasn’t expecting much from this film. I only purchased tickets for its screening because it was one of the few “premium screenings” that wasn’t sold out (I was originally excited for Black Swan and Hereafter, both of which were sold out after the first day of ticket sales). I was only looking forward to the festival experience.
I had already heard about the heroic story of Aron Ralston-- the true life-or-death experience that the film was based on-- and after hearing about the upcoming film, I must admit that I laughed quite a bit. I thought it would be a pathetic plot for a film, and that it would get nowhere at all. Was I ever wrong with my predictions!
While viewing “127 Hours”, my low expectations were gradually surpassed. My final thoughts on the film soared way above my original ones. I’ve never been so surprised in my life.
For those of you who are oblivious, “127 Hours” is about the true story of a mountain climber named Aron Ralston, whose arm was trapped under a boulder during a solitary canyon expedition in Utah. Although some people may consider this a SPOILER, I must tell you that the film focuses on his deepest thoughts, leading up to the moment where he resorts to severing his own arm in order to survive. Nevertheless, the whole audience was thrilled by this film, even though everyone was aware of the man’s fate beforehand (Aron Ralston was presented on stage before the film was shown).
Right from the start, I was captivated and intrigued. And I wasn't alone; the entire audience was as immersed as I was. Every so often, the film would have the whole audience gasping, cringing, or laughing-- all in unison. And then there was the moment where James Franco’s character finally cut off his entire arm. The whole audience clapped, instantly. Everyone was blown away, mesmerized.
Danny Boyle excels in directing, as usual. I loved “Slumdog Millionaire”, so it was nice to see that he teamed up with the same screenwriter, Simon Beaufoy, on this project. I was particularly amazed by their ability to craft a film (“127 Hours”) that stars one man (James Franco) and that is mainly shot in one restrained location (a gap in the canyon), while managing to captivate the audience. Wow. This marks a ground-breaking achievement in filmmaking. The viewer’s interest is maintained throughout the whole film, thanks to the emotional glimpses of his deepest thoughts during all the suspense over his survival. It manages to be one of the most poignant, heartfelt stories of this year’s cinema, while also being one of most thrilling and intense. It really puts you on the edge of your seat!
James Franco delivers an OUTSTANDING performance as Aron Ralston. He is so convincing that you can’t help but slip into his shoes and feel the pain and suffering he is experiencing. He also manages to get numerous laughs out of the audience with little bits of humour here and there. I wouldn't be surprised if he snags an acting nomination at next year’s Academy Awards, among all the other categories that this film is likely to contend in.
In the theatre, as the credits began to roll, the whole audience participated in a standing ovation that was sustained for five minutes. It was the greatest film reaction I have ever witnessed. Danny Boyle, Simon Beaufoy, James Franco, Aron Ralston, and a few others took the stage afterwards to answer questions from the audience. They were very grateful of the wonderful reception this film got that night. Leaving the theatre, I had the opportunity to share my thoughts on the movie with the distributor, Fox Searchlight. They recorded my friend Shakyl (also a cinephile) and I, and asked us some questions on the movie. The footage will possibly be used in a promotional commercial! We’ll have to wait and find out!
Overall, Danny Boyle’s “127 Hours” is a masterful film that will be raved about by audiences all over, this weekend. You really can’t afford to miss this deep, intense, powerful, and emotional piece of cinema! It will always remain vividly in my mind as one of the most memorable theater experiences of my lifetime. It's so good that I'm even considering to go see it once more! So, if you've missed it on its opening weekend, make it your priority for the following weekend! Or else, you won't be able to join in on "the buzz"!