Directed by: Danny Boyle
Thursday, March 6 - Wednesday, March 12, 2014
“On a Friday night in April 2003, Aron (James Franco), a carefree bohemian jock, out for pleasure but a bit of a loner, leaves his home in Aspen, Colo., to indulge in his favorite ritual of escape, driving out to the miles and miles of fabulous twisty red-rock formations that make up Canyonlands National Park in Utah — the ultimate adult jungle gym. He goes there to get high on the landscape, a sun-baked piece of geological sculpture so full of hidden claustrophobic passageways that it suggests a Road Runner cartoon as designed by Antoni Gaudí. And he goes there to get high on himself.
“Boyle’s split-screen images have a surreal clarity, linked to Aron’s childlike ‘Oh, wow!’ gaze. Yet Aron, a veteran climber, is so cocky about his expertise that his skill shades off into recklessness. When he meets a pair of attractive hikers (Amber Tamblyn and Kate Mara) who could use a tour guide, he leads them to a sandwiched-in cliff, then has them all slide down to an underground hot spring. They seem to have found paradise (for Aron, it’s a heavenly chance to show off), but there’s a slightly threatening undertow to his bravura. Is he transcending danger or courting it?
“We find out soon enough, when Aron, on his own again (the way he seems to like it), falls through an ancient crack in the earth and a boulder tumbles right on top of him. He winds up wedged between two chalkstone walls, the boulder having lodged itself, with a kind of horrific granite permanence, against his crushed right arm. Forty feet below the canyon surface, his legs a-dangle, his cries for help unheeded, he’s literally caught between a rock and a hard place… 127 HOURS is as gripping a tale of stranded ingenuity as Cast Away, as Aron works to save himself by adjusting to his new reality. He grinds away at the boulder with a cheap pocket knife, then drops it, aghast, and picks it up with his toes; he comes to rely on the 15 minutes of sunlight that brush the wall at 9:30 a.m. And he keeps himself chipper by rambling a diary of his experience into a camcorder.
“His words amount to a ruefully snarky monologue of fate from a member of a generation baptized in irony, and Franco, in a tour de force, uses those words to capture Aron’s ordeal from the outside in. With his toothy, slightly dazed beach-bum confidence, the actor takes us through the Five Stages of Survival: detachment, jokes, rage, revelation, and doing-what-you-gotta-do. He gets us rooting for his bluster under pressure.” – Entertainment WeeklyR, 94 Minutes