Thursday 13 January 2011

127 hours (2011) - Danny Boyle

How do you fill a feature film with more than just a man cutting off his own arm?

With quite a bit actually.

A tale of unimaginable human willpower and resolve, 127 hours is an incredibly stylistic film.  Boyle's keen sense for aesthetics is given full reign, using clever visual effects and perspectives to delve into the psyche of a man in an extraordinary situation, largely through flashbacks and hallucinations.  In particular, his use of sound is excellent - not only with his ironic choice of music (Bill Withers - Lovely Day?!) and the compositions by A.R. Rahman, but with his hyperbolic sound effects.  It's essentially a well paced lesson in how to delay the inevitable.  That is, until the hackneyed ending, including an appearance from the real Aron Ralston which brings a jarring shot of reality, rather than the intended emotional impact.

Ultimately, though, the film is flawed.  Anticipation builds right from the outset so that the tiniest of moments will have you writhing in your seat.  It's testament to the power of the film, yet it's less a film and more an experience.  And not a very pleasant one.  As it finally got to the climactic moment, I couldn't help but feel "why am I watching this?".  Once that's over, you feel a great sense of relief - not just for Aron, but relief that you too survived.  It's a horrible, gruesome subject matter and a horribly gruesome (yet stylish) film.

Remind me never to go climbing.  Ever.