A penny saved is ridiculous.

A penny saved is ridiculous.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Intense, but do-able

Director Danny Boyle's 127 Hours chronicles the ordeal of hiker and climber Aron Ralston, who was trapped for several days in a ravine in 2003, his arm caught between the ravine wall and a boulder that fell into the ravine when he did. Eventually, Aron's only recourse, if he wanted to survive, was to muster his courage and (spoiler alert for the four or five people out there who don't know the story despite it being all over the news at the time) amputate his trapped arm with the rudimentary tools he had at hand.

The movie is skillfully directed, communicating Aron's frustration and- eventually- boredom at his situation without making audience members feel frustrated or bored regarding their decision to see the movie. Well, we do feel Aron's frustration to an extent, which actually makes the big amputation scene (which lasts about two minutes) easier to take, at least for me. By the time we reached that moment, I just wanted the poor guy to be free of that narrow crevice where he was slowly dehydrating and starving to death, so I just said to myself, "FINALLY, just DO it and get out of there!"

But is the rest of the movie kind of boring, you may ask, as it's mostly about a guy with his arm stuck behind a boulder, just passing the time once the shock and pain of the initial accident that traps him is past? The answer is no. James Franco does a great job keeping us involved, as does director Boyle, who varies the flavor of each scene. There are various escape attempts, comic moments as Aron amuses himself by making funny videos with his camcorder, flashbacks to happier times, etc. The ninety-some minutes (not long to begin with) are over before you know it.

So if you think you can take the intensity of the arm scene, I think you'll enjoy the true life adventure that is 127 Hours. My wife declined to see it with me last night, but maybe I can get her to watch it on DVD eventually. Now I only have to see True Grit before Sunday night, in order to say I've seen all ten Best Picture nominees. Wish me luck!

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