127 Hours (2010) Director: Danny Boyle
127 Hours is very nearly the documentary of one man’s survival against the elements. The title refers to the amount of time it takes from the main character’s accident to when he was rescued and put under anesthesia.
It tells the story of Aron Ralston, a hiker played by James Franco, who gets trapped in Canyonlands National Park in Utah. It is based on the 2004 memoir by Aron Ralston appropriately called Between a Rock and a Hard Place. He meets a couple of hikers who eventually part ways and Ralston goes off alone only to accidentally tumble down a ravine where his arm gets jammed between rocks. He makes various efforts to wrangle it free, while trying to keep his sanity and ration his food. He makes a video diary of his time at the bottom of the ravine and he hallucinates and has various flashbacks. The film’s story is told brilliantly in this respect. Eventually, he must break his arm in several places and slowly amputate it, then climb down through the ravine, until he finds a random family who searches for help.
Danny Boyle is, of course, the director of other notable British films like 2008’s Slumdog Millionaire. Like Into the Wild, 127 Hours is a cautionary tale about the dangers posed by mother nature, a cold and indifferent force to the well-being of mankind. There are some small changes from the story of Ralston, but not many. It is a well-told film that apparently put James Franco through quite a trial.