‘127 Hours’ is gritty, real portrayal of life-or-death decision

There’s nothing like a good amputation scene.

Danny Boyle’s (“Slumdog Millionaire,” “28 Days Later”) new film, “127 Hours,” is the story of adventurer Aron Ralston and the perfect expedition gone wrong.

For those who don’t remember, Ralston was hiking alone in Utah when a boulder shifted, pinning him to a canyon wall. He eventually, of his own accord, broke the bones in his arm and then amputated it to rappel out of the canyon and walk to find help.

Ralston is played by James Franco, who goes solo for almost the entire movie with little interruption.

Most of the time the people that appear next to the star are passersby, namely two lost hikers (Kate Mara and Amber Tamblyn).

As Ralston begins to fade in and out of total consciousness, he begins to hallucinate about his past and other aspects of his life. It is not clear to the viewer what his visions mean until the latter part of the film.

Franco does a great job playing Ralston. He shows a lot of dimension within the character. While critics may applaud Franco for his performance, which he deserves, Boyle deserves a lot more credit. The world’s greatest actor could have been Ralston, and if the director was visionless, it still would have been garbage.
Boyle pulls it off.

The film comes packaged in a gleaming sheen. It’s a lot like a really bright candy wrapper, chalk full of vibrant colors. At the same time it can be dark, foreboding and stormy, but that’s to be expected—the movie is about a man who has to do the unthinkable to survive.

Speaking of the unthinkable, the amputation scene was done very well. I’m pretty squeamish when it comes to gore like that, so I was not looking forward to the up-close shots of the dismemberment.

However, Boyle made it seem realistic without making the audience throw up. It is best not to give away all of it, but imagine if Franco was playing the grown-up version of “Operation,” with real pain.

Everything about it is compelling, including the amputation, but the film really didn’t redefine my list of favorite movies this year. “127 Hours” is an excellent film, but viewers only need to see it once.