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127 hours
UKScreen Rating:

127 hours – Review


In 2003, Aron Ralston (James Franco) goes hiking in the Blue John Canyon in Utah without telling anyone. As he jumps into one of the canyon crevices, a boulder becomes dislodged, crushing his right forearm and pinning it against the canyon wall.

In the ensuing five days, he tries vainly to extricate his arm, while slowly sipping his small amount of remaining water and recording his ordeal on his video camera. He eventually runs out of water and begins to drink his own urine, while hopelessly waiting for a miracle.

Just as he has given up, and carved his name and his presumed date of death on the canyon’s wall, he summons the last resort of his energy and chops off his arm with a dull blade.


Only a high-energy director like Danny Boyle could make such a thrilling, riveting film with one actor trapped in one location for most the length of the film. In order to infuse the film with such dynamic energy, Boyle uses the services of two cameramen from two cultures, one from northern Europe, Anthony Dod Mantle, one from Latin America, Enrique Chediakand and equips them with 3 types of cameras.

Boyle also fills film with metaphors and contrasts. In the beginning, we are enthralled and seduced by the majestic beauty of nature as we watch Aron, almost in envy, being intoxicated by it. But suddenly and without a warning, nature shocks us when it revealed its harsh side and mercilessly traps Aron into the suffocating confines of its belly.

This is another story of man vs nature. In spite of his love of nature, Aron seeks mental strength, not from nature, but from his loved-ones, as he speaks to them vicariously via his video camera, while he is hopelessly cramped between the canyon’s walls.

Aron’s video camera is ingeniously utilised to save the film from dull exposition, introducing us to Aron’s character seamlessly without jeopardising the pace of the story. Not only are we offered a glimpse into Aron’s mind’s as he records his thoughts for the camera, but we also learn about his life and family as he replays the footage he took prior to this fateful trip.

Boyle doesn’t stop there. He takes us on a journey into Aron’s mind as he imagines himself being freed from his entrapment and then united with his family or as he imagines a rainstorm flooding the canyon with water and quenching his thirst.

James Franco easily slips into Aron’s skin and completely disappears into his character. In fact, his portrayal of Aron was so accurate that Aron’s mother thought he was her own son, when she saw the movie. He takes us into an emotional and intellectual journey that forces us to relive Aron’s predicament and contemplate how far would we go to defy death and save our lives.

It’s a nerve-wracking and a tormenting film to watch, and the sound of bone snapping and the sight of flesh chopping don’t make it any easier. Nonetheless, it’s speckled with humorous moments that occasionally lift the depressing mood of the story.

Opens nationwide 7th January 2011



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