127 Hours – Your hand or your life, you choose

11 Nov

A man stuck between a rock and a hard place. The hard place in 127 Hours is the hand of Aron Ralston and the rock is, well the rock is an actual rock.

Ralston (James Franco) was hiking and climbing through Blue John Canyon in Utah, when a bolder became dislodged and fell, crushing his right hand and wedging itself against the narrow canyon walls.  After 5 days of urine drinking and hallucinating Ralston amputates his own arm.

I don’t think Bear Grylls covered this in Man v. Wild.

It’s actually a pretty funny movie. Up until the part where Ralston resorts to drinking his own urine. It only gets more graphic when Ralston breaks his own arm and slowly tears into his own flesh, cutting nerves like long pieces of spaghetti, with a dull pocket knife.

The whole thing is almost surreal to watch because it is so personal.

Franco and director Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire) are able to bring you into Ralston’s mind as it slowly deteriorate from careful water rationing and clever survival tactics into saw your arm off in a dehydrated, survival haze.

But in a movie that is completely driven by one character, 127 Hour skillfully avoids the Cast Away pitfall – the loneliness of just one character and his monologue makes you want to punt every Wilson volleyball you see.  127 Hour moves quickly and doesn’t dwell on building up the accident that leads to the crushing of Aron’s hand or the ultimate decision to cut his arm off.  Everything just kind of happens and you are along for the ride.

It is an experience film that puts you into the mind of a true survivor. You will walk away with just one though, “could I do that?”

For me it wasn’t cutting off the arm or even drinking the urine, but the 5 days of direct sunlight which would have sunk my battleship.


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