Here’s a question no one’s probably thought of: Who’s more badass Jack Bauer of 24 or the real-life Aron Ralston? Could Jack Bauer amputate his own arm to save himself to fight for another day? Possibly but it takes a certain kind of person with the calmness of a mid-west plain on a summer’s evening and uber-kind survival instincts.
Not many people would have the gumption to saw off a limb to save themselves even if the alternative is death. But wasn’t that the whole premise of the original Saw?
The difference being that unlike these two examples, what happened to Aron Ralston is true.
The exuberant Aron Ralston is such a person who could. His 5-day ordeal of being pinned in an isolated canyon in Canyonlands National Park in Utah with nothing but what he had in his backpack in 2003 supports this. How he managed to keep his head during such a dire situation should be the model in which anyone should follow in an emergency situation.
This is your primer: DON’T PANIC (like the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy says), analyze your situation, take time to figure out your tools immediately in hand (dull knife…check!), take breaks to do something different (i.e. daydream mostly), imagine about something in the outside world that would inspire you to carry on (this could be your children, that hot lady or dude, your family, your passion to complete your first novel, getting the Top Kill on Black Ops…whatever), and if all else fails, you can always chop your arm off with a dull knife.
The multi-talented James Franco (Pineapple Express, Spiderman 3) is Aron Ralston who demands attention on the screen for the entire time he appears…and he should. He’s there quite a bit. Franco rides the Ralston emotional roller-coaster as he deals with denial, sadness, fear, hallucinations, ecstasy, love, pain, acceptance and relief. I’ve always seen James Franco as one of those Hollywood stars who just hovered right below the upper-tier. One of those actors who were always excellent in any role they played but often came across as not having enough gravitas to headline a movie.
Think Johnny Depp before Edward Scissorhands (pun partially intended but conveniently discovered). Sure, Depp was making waves on 21 Jump Street…but who back then could say anything more about him other than he’s an amazing tv actor before he did that movie. Franco is in this same position.
127 Hours is his Edward Scissorhands.
Danny Boyle (who hit a homerun a couple years ago with Slumdog Millionaire) throws every directorial trick in his bag into this flick. Quick cuts, flashbacks, beautiful scenery shots, action shots, slow motion, bright colours, hectic editing…you name it, you can probably find it here. At times, this comes across as a director’s Promo Reel and feel overdone and unnecessary. But most times it balances perfectly with Ralston’s emotions throughout the film.
And fair warning: when Ralston eventually decides to cut off his hand, it is extremely graphic, shocking, bloody and horrifying. I still shudder to feel what Ralston might’ve been going through during that time.
127 Hours is an extremely entertaining flick but I question how worthy it is in the current field of Best Picture Oscar nominees. Franco’s range is incredible and I get how he got nominated for the Best Actor nod. The movie itself as a Best Picture….meh.
Might be a good reason to go back to only 5 best movies next year at the Oscars.
7.8 reasons to own a satellite phone at all times out of 10