Whoa, that sure is a long movie! Hahaha! Get it? I’m pretending the movie is 127 hours long, but it’s not. You fucking idiot. I wanted to see this movie in theaters, but Rampaige didn’t, which made me kind of lazy about the whole situation. When I finally decided I would go, I found out it would be on Netflix two weeks later, so I put my money back in my pocket. It’s a Danny Boyle movie, so I knew it was going to be good, but considering what the plot was, and the fact that it was based on a true story, I was curious as to how entertaining it would be. Also, generally anything that has Oscar buzz is something I will stray away from, or at least wait a longer period of time before seeing it, so I can try to remain relatively unbiased. Looks like the hype has died down, so here we go!
Hope you weren’t planning on honking on their hooters, bro!
We get the sense that Aron Ralston, played by James Franco, enjoys adventure, and doesn’t really enjoy too many other people. From mountain biking to hiking to climbing rocks, he seems to enjoy being independent and taking on whatever challenges he may face with a positive attitude. After going for a hike in relative seclusion, he ends up falling down a small canyon and a rock wedges his arm against the side of the canyon, trapping him there, with no one knowing his whereabouts. Having the necessary supplies for any hiker, he tries multiple ways to free his arm, and eventually realizes that there is no way he can save himself. The film then shows his hallucinations, caused by the isolation and lack of water, the ups and downs of his frustrations, his regrets, his documenting of messages to family and friends, pretty much the whole gamut of what someone would do with 127 hours to themselves. Aron determines that his only chance at surviving is for him to remove his arm. He gives himself a tourniquet and uses his own strength to break his arm. Having a broken arm means he doesn’t have to saw through the bone and can just cut through the muscle and tissue. Finally free from the rock, he finds water, and is found by hikers in the area, as a helicopter lands to give him the medical treatment he needs. We see the real Aron Ralston at the end of the film, with wife and newborn, and we learn that he still goes mountain climbing despite missing part of his arm, but now he always leaves a note saying wherever he is going.
Brutal wipeout, bro! Shouldn’t have been listening to Phish so loudly!
I generally don’t like to think of what I will rate a movie as I’m watching it, because it’s better to wait until the end. I couldn’t help but think about what I liked about the movie, then what I didn’t like, and trying to determine how much I liked it. All of the scenes of Aron exploring on his own, as well as when he meets up with two female hikers and goes swimming in an underground pool, were awesome. All shots looked great, everything about them was interesting, and it was hard not to pay attention and take in every detail. Once he lands in the canyon, it was quite a challenge to make the rest of the movie, where you only have one character, engaging for a viewer, without them getting bored. The real Aron said that this film was as close as you could get to being a documentary while still being a drama, so you’ve got to give credit to Danny Boyle for being so thorough in the details about the incident he researched, as well as to James Franco for being able to bring himself to that place mentally, and portray it onscreen. I would say the scenes of Aron hallucinating and running through all the things he did differently were the scenes that made me not enjoy the movie as much, maybe just because of how surreal and disjointed things are. If you’ve seen The Beach, it was similar to scenes in that movie of Leonardo DiCaprio exploring the jungle as his own, where it seems surreal to the point of silliness.
Should have chugged some Mountain Dew, bro! That would’ve given you the strength of ten X-gamers!
Knowing ahead of time that he was going to cut his arm off kind of sets you on edge for a good portion of the movie. Rampaige got up and walked away three times, thinking it was about to happen at any moment. The first time involved him just taking his utility knife and attempts to cut through his skin, but due to the poor quality of the knife, he barely even breaks the surface. The next time he just takes his knife and stabs right into his arm. We even see an interior shot of his arm where we can see the knife inside hitting the bone. Finally, we see him break his arm, and uses the smallest attachment on his utility knife to cut away the skin. This part was pretty intense, and was supposedly filmed in just one take, due to only having one prossthetic arm. You couldn’t even block your eyes to escape it, because you see him attempt to sever a nerve, only to hear sharp grinding sounds blast from the soundtrack, trying to portray how intense the pain of slicing your own nerve was. Phew, just typing this shit out is making me sweat.
For being a mountain climber, his fingernails are pretty tidy. Bro.
Luckily, by the time the movie was over, I hadn’t set in stone the rating it would get, because the rating certainly changed from initial reactions. Considering so many other films end with such a negative outlook on life, it was really powerful seeing this movie end on a high note, or at least a relatively high note. It wasn’t until Aron freed himself from the rock that you truly had a sense of his isolation and desperation, and the overwhelming relief he felt. The real Aron is now a public speaker, giving lectures about positive thinking and empowering yourself to get through the tough moments in life. The time between his escape from the rock to the end of the movie is about ten minutes, and it is pure excitement, joy, and relief that whole time. From the uplifting music, to the fast-paced movement of each shot, to each shot being much more well-lit, the whole thing is a celebration of how fortunate Aron is and how incredible it was that he was able to escape with his life. I would recommend this movie to anyone who is having a shitty day or a tough time in their lives, because, hey, at least you didn’t have to cut your own fucking arm off with a dull knife. Oh, and he was stuck under the rock for 127 hours, did I mention that already?
Wolfman Moon Scale