Flickering Myth’s writing team count down to the release of Trance by selecting their favourite Danny Boyle movies; last up is Victoria Welton with 2010’s 127 Hours…
When I saw it was Danny Boyle month here on Flickering Myth – and that we were to put forward our favourite Boyle film, I had no hesitation in wanting to watch 127 Hours – and make it my favourite! I had heard of it’s sheer brilliance and, although I hadn’t seen it, I had no doubt that I would enjoy it. I wasn’t disappointed.
Boyle is the type of film-maker who can bring to life the true story of canyoneer, Aron Ralston, who became trapped by a loose boulder in Blue John Canyon, South Eastern Utah back in April 2003. He was forced to amputate his right arm in order to free himself.
Boyle reunites with his Slumdog Millionaire team, Simon Beaufoy, Christian Colson and A R Rahman for writing, production and score. He co-wrote the film with Beaufoy which was nominated for six Oscars including Best Picture and Best Actor for James Franco. A well-deserved nomination for Franco who I am looking forward to seeing in Oz The Great and Powerful.
The film opens with images of everyday life of people going about their business which builds a layer of pictures that come back to haunt you once Ralston is stuck. The manner in which the boulder falls and the way in which he gets trapped is captured well and the build of his frustration as a result is well-portrayed by Franco.
There are a number of images which are poignant to me. The first is the aeroplane flying miles up in the sky above the crevice in which Ralston is trapped, showing that despite the fact that there are people above him, they cannot see or hear him. The next image is the wonderful piece of cinematography as directed by Boyle in which you see 3 different images of Ralston as he films a diary on his video camera; one in the view finder, one on the screen of the camera and the real-life image, all beautifully framed. The part of the film where Ralston cuts his arm off is a difficult yet compulsive watch, particularly when he is trying to break through a nerve. The twang of music played at the points in which he catches it makes you grit your teeth and helps, in some small way, to feel the pain he must be going through.
Boyle could have taken the sentimental route with this true story, but what he did do was keep it real. The point of the film which did start my tears (yes, I am one of those people that cries at pretty much everything ever!) was when finally, he got out into the open and saw the family walking away from him. Being in that cave with Aron created empathy and the tension was heightened when you realise that, despite the fact that he was now out in the open with people, he could still die. The relief of the helicopter’s arrival hits you. The striking image of the family on the sofa makes its reappearance from the cave to the side of the swimming pool at the end as Ralston’s family disappear and the real Aron sits with his wife and boy; the image that made him fight for his life.