November 5, 2010
On the Big Board
||There were moments in the film that surprised me. It's largely just one great performance with too many slow scenes, but it works for what it is.
||Touching the Void did this first, and just as well if not better. The removal of the arm wasn't as bad as I was expecting...except for the nerve.
There are times when it sucks to be Aron Ralston. One time in particular was when he was trapped by a boulder and had to extricate himself from the situation by using a dull knife to…you know what, I don’t want to talk about that. It’s too horrific to consider. The point is that Ralston wrote a biography about the nightmarish ordeal that comprised roughly 127 hours of his life. Not so cleverly titled Between a Rock and a Hard Place, the true story of forced amputation attracted the attention of one Danny Boyle.
Any time a director makes a movie for $15 million and it earns $380 million worldwide while also winning eight Academy Awards, said director is in the driver’s seat for their next production. Since this is exactly what happened with Boyle’s prior film, Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours is a rather standoffish choice for a follow-up project. Then again, given the lauded director’s resume to date, no one should be surprised by yet another eclectic choice. Whether the topic is a dead body, a bunch of stoners, a beach, an outer space mission, a zombie infestation, or a game show performance, Boyle has found a way to make the story interesting. Since 127 Hours is already a fascinating true life tale of adversity overcome, this feels like a natural implementation of his skill set.
Of course, the key to the success of 127 Hours will rest on the shoulders of the actor playing Ralston. Freaks and Geeks icon James Franco has been tasked with this assignment, one of the most difficult acting performances in recent memory. If Ralston’s actual events are recounted without a lot of artistic liberties taken, Franco will be onscreen by himself for over half of the movie. As was the case with Tom Hanks developing a relationship with Wilson in Cast Away, the boulder that traps Franco will be his main source of interaction for a significant portion of the film. Lizzie Caplan, Amber Tamblyn, Clémence Poésy, Kate Mara, Treat Williams and Kate Burton have been cast as family members of Ralston as well as a couple of people he meets during his ill-fated trip. Make no mistake, though. Most of this film will be James Franco staring at a rock, which is an amazing true life event. How well it will work as a movie remains to be seen. (David Mumpower/BOP)