Film Critique: 127 Hours

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Film Critique: 127 Hours
ENG 225: Introduction to Film
Prof. Aimee Garten
October 24, 2011

Film Critique: 127 Hours

The name Aron Ralston may not mean much to people, but the popular James Franco might to some movie buffs. It was Ralston's 2003 tragic but survivable journey that inspired Director Danny Boyle, also famous for the 2008 box office blast Slumdog Millionaire to gain another smash hit in 2010 named 127 Hours. Franco portrays Ralston in Boyle's Telluride Film Festival thriller that may only star one individual throughout most of the film, but Boyle's ingenious way of guiding the audience through Ralston's personal journey is both graphic and memorable. (Farber, S. 2010) Throughout this film, an unbelievable but true story is told through amazing acting, editing, sound, and all other components of cinematography while debating on what drastic measures he is going to have to use if he wants to save his own life. Ralston’s story begins as continues in chronological order when he is on his lone expedition through canyons near Moab, Utah. (IMDb.com) Often going alone, and some may say being reckless searching for his adrenaline fix; canyoneering is something he was familiar with and never imagined himself fighting for his life. (Farber, S. 2010) Dislodging a boulder that wedged his hand and forearm in a deep canyon brings Aron to determine if he is going to escape and live or die there. He examines his life over the next 5 days (hence the title, he was trapped a total of 127 hours) reminiscing and drifting back thoughts, memories, and flashbacks of family, former lovers, and both old and new friends and even a premonition of an unborn son. While his body is continually shutting down, he makes a drastic decision: he wants to live. To do so, fighting aboth an internal and external conflict, amputating his arm is his only option out. Dehydrated and malnourished by now, he fulfills the bloody and gory act. Almost in disbelief, he looks at himself for a minute, and then continues his journey. Wrapping his arm into a handmade sling, he finally reaches the surface and wearily travels for help. Running into hikers begging for food and water, he is saved. The acting of James Franco is nothing other than remarkable. Some may even say that this was the best performance of Franco’s career. Mostly a method actor, or impersonator, he is playing the role of someone else in the film. He engages himself into a serious position and pursues all of the different emotions that Ralston describes. From being scared and panicked to calm and thinking critically on how to save his life, Franco does not hold back. The scenes where he is panic stricken easily shows on Franco’s face; for example, when he realizes he cannot move and is not getting out, he screams for help. The sweat pouring from his face, the redden cheeks, and heavy breathing are all signs of panic which he prominently shows. In the calmer scenes, especially those that show him thinking rationally on how to get out or rigging a new contraption to escape, the concentrated look on his face and the tightened brows shows a different level of acting. Going from this one extreme to another seems almost effortless for Franco. Although he did not actually lose a limb, the filming was painful which left him with bodily scars and was ultimately more of an “experience” in life and less of a façade enduring both the physical and exhausting pain during the filming. (HuffPost Entertainment. 2011) The editing of the film is interesting. The direct cuts of Ralston filming himself behind a hand held camcorder and jumping back showing the entire scene shows a different sense of lighting and camera angles. The lighting changes with the passing of the days as well. The desert is extremely dark at night and very bright during the day so those changes are significant for him to plan his escape. Almost making it as a documentary style, Boyle uses the night lighting, which turns to greens and...
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