Aaron Ralston is going out to the Blue John Canyon, all by himself. Before leaving, he informs his boss.
"Where to?" He's asked. "Don't know yet." "Hope it is good." "Always is."
He's an adventurer. In his eyes, he's his own man. He believes he can make it on his own. He ignores answering machine messages from his mother, he can't be bothered searching for his swiss army knife and he's not going to check again if he has everything he needs. He hasn't told a soul where he's going. The possibility of things going wrong doesn't cross his mind. Yes, pride goes before a fall. And boy, does he fall.
He bumps into two lost girls and offers to guide them. The three of them squeeze between rocks and let themselves drop into water. One of them asks "What if these rocks move?" to which Aaron jestingly replies "They're moving all the time. Let's just hope it's not today." That's taken for granted. Once he's on his own way, the rock just happens to move and he lands with his right arm under a boulder. What does he do? He tries chipping off the rock. He tries making a pulley to get the rock off. He screams his lungs out for help. All in vain. "Don't lose it," he instructs himself.
He goes on to realize that he has not enough food or water to last more than a day. By the time a missing person complaint is filed with the police and they start looking out, he'd probably have starved to death. He does regret the choice he's made but he's willing to stick by it and think his way out of the situation. "It was your choice. You made this choice," he tells himself. He drinks his urine, he sucks water off his contact lens, he distracts himself by enacting a conversation between Aaron the survivor, a talk show host and the Aaron stuck in "loser canyon". He thinks about having a son, he hallucinates about a party with Scooby Doo and the whole time he's videotaping everything that's happening. But that couldn't go on forever. He beings to recollect the best memories of his life; they're all in the company of his loved ones and he's of the opinion that they're worth reliving. For which he's willing to survive; even if it means leaving his right arm behind. He cuts it off, little by little with his 'made in china' knife. You see him in excruciating pain when he's cutting through his arm. Once he's finished ripping through the flesh, it is time for the bone.
The film personifies the man it's made about. It's a bold film. 90 minutes of a man who is trapped under a rock isn't something that people are going to rush out to theatres to check out. It couldn't have been more engaging. You see various shades of the character, Aaron Ralson. He's a survivor and is shown that way. The film makers respect him for that and don't try getting the audience to empathize with him. You're kept at bay. You won't feel sorry for him yet you want to know what becomes of him. What the character feels is expressed by James Franco, shown by the cinematographer Anthony Dodd Mantle and understood by A.R. Rahman's music. Mantle closes in on Aaron's face when there's intense feeling and zooms out to show Aaron's state of claustrophobic helplessness. Franco is dynamite. If he wins the oscar, he's definitely worthy of it. Danny Boyle, the director is a genius. The book must've told the story in words, Boyle does it with little talk, more with action.
127 hours is a gripping film that will appeal to both the film buff and the average viewer. It will probably be forgotten years from now but as long as the buzz exists, it's a film that's not to be missed. It might not be a great film but it most certainly is great filmmaking.