Sean K. Cureton

127 Hours

In Movie Reviews: 2010 on January 31, 2011 at 10:21 pm

127 Hours
Directed by Danny Boyle
3 out of 4 stars

Since the success of his Oscar wining film Slumdog Millionaire in 2008, director Danny Boyle has come into the spotlight as a great director. Slumdog, which was a rather dull film about an Indian boy winning a million dollars on a game show, among other things, was interesting to say the least. But was Slumdog truly that great of a film? And is Danny Boyle really that great as a director?

With 2010’s release of 127 Hours, some critics think Boyle has produced another Oscar worthy film. Based on the experiences of canyoneer Aron Ralston, 127 Hours tells the true story of how Ralston had to live for five days in a canyon where his arm had been caught between a boulder and the canyon wall. With such an interesting idea, and such a respected director in tow, what could go wrong?

Here’s the truth of the matter: Danny Boyle is not as good as some of the acclaim he has received might suggest. While some might think his direction lends itself to a more commercial and easier to grasp style, the simple fact of the matter is that Boyle is not a great film maker in the classic sense, in that his films often don’t feel like films at all. In 127 Hours, Boyle repeatedly edits the film so that there are several sequences where we have a split screen with three images at the same time. It’s hard to tell why Boyle does this so often in the film, as it doesn’t seem to lend the film anything, and is quite frankly a bit disorienting and ugly to look at time and time again. Beyond that, the split screen shots could have been done in a much more fluid way by just simply pointing the camera directly at James Franco’s face, who plays the lead role of Aron Ralston in the film.

Luckily, James Franco’s largely solo performance, which takes up the bulk of the film, is spot on. Franco plays the part of Ralston so well, that the audience can feel everything that Franco’s character is going through. Franco again shows himself to be a great actor in this film, and furthers his range in the process. It is a sheer joy to watch Franco act largely by himself for the entire 94 minutes, even in the most gruesome scene of the film, where Ralston has to sever his own arm with a dull knife.

In conclusion, Danny Boyle is not the best director in the world, he certainly does not deserve another Oscar for this film, but because of James Franco’s performance, 127 Hours pulls through by capturing one of the best performances in film in 2010.


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