in Review

Trapped in the Canyon

127 Hours


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this is the year of the “claustrophobia film.” You had the elevator thriller Devil, the indie horror flick set in a coffin Buried, and now the harrowing true story of Aron Ralston (James Franco) and his experience between a rock and a hard place. Yes it’s 127 Hours, (or 95 minutes) of a man who after being trapped by a boulder, had to amputate his own lower right arm. How can you set an entire movie within a cramped, crevice, of a canyon you might ask? Danny Boyle is your answer.

Coming off of the Oscar smash Slumdog Millionaire, Boyle could of literally taken on any project he desired, but he decided to do something smaller… Smaller in a big way that is. Boyle uses his unique skills as visual storyteller to attack all senses with beautiful images portrayed in increasingly clever ways. No scene is ever approached in a conventional way and Boyle uses all sorts of tricks to keep us on edge. We see Aron’s vivid memories shown like swirling dreams, POV’s from the inside of a bag of urine, a human arm and everything in between. It can be frenetic, it can be serene, it can be emotional, this is a film that looks like no another and tells an amazing story.

Though what would the whole experience be if it wasn’t for it’s star? The man who were literally going to have to watch for every passing minute of this all out fight for survival, he’ll have to be good right? Luckily, that man is James Franco who brilliantly captures every aspect of a man in distress. The moments of anguish, delirium, and finally joy, as Aron cuts himself loose in the film’s gripping finale.

You would think a story like this would be difficult to portray in hour and a half movie, mostly in regards to pacing. Though leave it to a talented director like Danny Boyle, some of his usual collaborators (Like writer Simon Beaufoy) and a talent in James Franco, and you have yourself a completely original and emotional film. Looks to be another Oscar contender for Boyle and company come early next year.