Based on the true story of Aron Ralston, this dramatic thriller by Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire) encapsulates the mental and physical challenges one is faced with during survival. James Franco gives us a great depiction and performance that convey all arrays of the emotional spectrum. With such a simple but bizarre scenario; being trapped by a rock in a cave corridor struggling to survive for 127 hours, the cinematography and flashbacks sequences add dimension and depth to such a simple plot of which the end is already known. When directors make movies based on true events, it puts them at a disadvantage from the start. The ability of the movie to keep the audience engaged is not on how the story unfolds, but on how the story is told – this is what divides the good from the really good. Hats off to Boyle for a job well done.
Overall, the movie makes you laugh, choke up, nail-bite, hold your breath, grip, jaw-clench, teeth grind, and smile. Not for the faint of heart or weak stomach. Honestly, I came in with high expectations which unfortunately takes a tiny chip off my concluding review. It was inspiring, gripping, creatively shot, a seat-edger, with a solid lead performance, but just couldn’t live up to Slumdog. I guess an unfair shadow was cast upon Boyle’s follow up with 127 Hours. I was not blown away but I was entertained. Would not see again, but would recommend, but only for DVD or on demand.