Monday, February 21, 2011

Movie Review: 127 Hours (spoiler alert)

I won preview tickets to watch this movie and The Rites on the same day! So since I vaguely remembering 127 hours being nominated for some award earlier this year and is based on a true story.... I chose it.

Last Wednesday night, I went to watch 127 Hours without really reading up much about it. The weekend before, a friend caution me about a scene about the character cutting his own arm... I decided to forewarned my fellow friend who was watching with me.

127 Hours in a nutshell... IMHO

It started with a confident, nonchalant guy, Aron who goes around making a "simple trip" over the weekend to mountain climb in the Canyonlands by himself without informing anyone. It shows how he packs his food and gears very simply without worries. He even left his trusty Swiss army knife because he couldn't reach it. He ignores phone calls from his mum and didn't inform anyone of his plans.

He makes his way to the destination by himself. As the movie progress with picturesque views of the canyons and a silent journey of a confident guy through the lands, one feels his confidence and a little cockiness as he hops around the canyons like a mountain goat.

He meets 2 girls along the way who were lost and offered to be a "tour guide" to their destination and showed them a brave memorable time jumping through rocks into the underground water. Here, the movie makes me feel in awe of the freedom and fun potrayed here.

He parts way with them confidently by himself and that's when the unexpected happens, a large boulder dislodged and landed on his right hand which traps him in a canyon below - unseen from above.

The next few scenes are memorable. It showed Aron still being confident and unfazed by what has happen. He unpacks his essentials from his backpack : "China-made pen knife", a 500ml bottle of water, a pack of sandwich, climbing rope, camera, video cam and I think some climbing gear.

He tries to dislodged his arm by chipping away the boulder with his blunt knife. At a moment, he thought of cutting him arm but the knife was too blunt. He created a pulley with his rope and tries to use his weight to dislodged the boulder but to no avail. Mind you, he was only using one arm to do all this.

I thought, "Wow.. he doesn't show fear and is still determined to pull himself out of this jam".

However, after a few days, the reality sank in and as he talks to himself in the video cam, Aron shows remorse for the things he done in the past and wished he spent more time with his family. The trailer shows the scene where he makes a morning radio show interviewing himself about the silliness of not informing anyone of his whereabouts so no help was coming until it will be too late.

A few scenes would shock you but the main scene was Aron being stuck in the canyon through the harsh cold (he wraps the climbing rope to keep himself warm), 15 mins of sunlight - heat, rain and starvation. He rationed his water to the extend of saving his own urine to avoid dehydration. He talked to the video cam to keep his sanity.

I guess James Franco deserved to be nominated for his performance as you feel his agony and remorse through these scenes. However, it has to be noted - he showed Aron as still having a strong will to live even facing the possibility of death.

In the end, Aron broke his own arm and then cut if off to free himself from the boulder. The scene of him poking his arm with blood dripping out is not a scene for the queasy. But I forced myself to watch it to appreciate the acting and potrayal. The music selected for this scene was piercing and makes one feel the pain of Aron.

The scene does not end there. Aron still has to climb out and abseil 65 foot of wall and hike over eight miles before he was rescued. (figures obtained from wikipedia).

Wow... the movie ended with the scene of the real Aron with his arm/stump left. He shows him swimming confidently in the pool. The short description tells he still continue mountain climbing and doing extreme activities. He met his love of his life and have a child now.

The spirit and will power to live is vividly and well-shown in this movie. Bravo to Danny Boyle, James Franco and the rest of the crew. It has made me want to read the autobiography "Between a Rock and a Hard Place" to see what other details and reality had happened.

So my advice, go ahead and watch this to see the willpower of someone who wants to live to the extend of helping himself since there is no one around. And yes, you will pick up an important lesson too: "Always let someone- a person to know your whereabouts in case something happens to you, at least people would know where to look" and the epitome of "Where there is a will, there is a way".
For those who can't stomach blood, just close your eyes and let the music make your own imagination go wild during the scene of cutting the arm.. Enjoy! ;)

Trailer below...

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