Already tipped for Oscars (as if he needs any more!) ‘127 hours’ documents the 5 day struggle of Aron Ralston, a man living life on the edge.
Whilst cycling dangerous Blue Rock Canyon, he finally pushes himself too far, an action which see’s him trapped and in excruciating pain.
From that point the film shifts from a physical to an emotional journey when he is forced to overcome obstacles to survive.
James Franco plays the daredevil, giving a heart wrenchingly flawless performance in tackling the emotions of a man whose severe exhaustion and dehydration leads to a chilling set of hallucinations.
These propel the story, along with other element such as split screens and flashbacks, which is a welcome surprise, differing from my original expectations. I assumed the fall would halt the thrills of the previous 20 minutes but boy was I wrong. Not only does Boyle delve deeper in to Ralston’s life, he ensures we become connected to the character, reinforced by Franco’s brilliant performance.Reuniting with Oscar winning composer A R Rahman (Slum Dog Millionaire), Boyle ensures the music throughout mirrors the feelings of the audience; which range from shock and awe to compassion and sympathy.
However, some parts proved uncomfortable as I developed such a personal bond with Franco’s depiction of Ralston that I physically couldn’t stand to see the struggles he was facing. Despite ‘127 hours’ truly testing the boundaries of human suffering, Boyle still sees fit to offer rare moments of comedic relief.
This is a dimension rarely seen from Franco in his previous films, which range from a junkie in the laughter driven Pineapple Express to the best friend and eventual enemy of Spiderman. Even playing James Dean in the self titled biopic failed to catapult him to major success.
The dynamic between Boyle’s visions and Franco’s portrayal of a man pushed to the ultimate level of survival, ensure the audience is glued to the screen throughout. This film is a rollercoaster ride, exhausting every feeling possible, but still manages to offer hope and determination despite unbearable circumstances.
Those of you with sensitive stomachs who are deterred by some of the gorier aspects of the film, I assure you, they are well worth enduring for the 90 minutes of pure genius displayed throughout this film. Boyle’s unique eye and range of cinematic elements has pushed what is seen as a fairly simple story to a whole new level.
The constrictive nature of the setting and near absence of supporting characters would be enough to deter even the most experienced actors, but Franco welcomes the challenge with open arms and delivers a performance that can only be described as mesmerising. It is safe to say that the release of 127 hours will see his days of support roles left firmly behind him and chalks up yet another success for Boyle, who will surely be adding a host of new awards to his collection.