Danny Boyle is known in India as the man who made the mega-hyped and over-analysed Slumdog Millionaire " the movie which had Jai Ho, and for which Anil Kapoor danced on the Oscar stage.
2 years after the epic film which made India and Dharavi a bone of contention for everyone, the British film-maker, who had made great films like Trainspotting and The Beach, is back with his latest offering " a slice from mountaineer Aron Ralstons life 127 Hours " another tale of motivation and survival instinct, fight against destiny and victory of undaunted spirit.
Question: Which is more entertaining? Answer: Slumdog Millionaire
Question: Which portrays the warrior spirit better? Answer: 127 Hours
Most of us know (or at least have read on Wikipedia) about Aron Ralstons life " what happened to him and how he came out of it. The first 15 minutes of the film is the only linear portion where you are introduced to Aron as he goes out on the hike, meets two girls (Christine and Megan) and jumps into the Blue John Canyon. Right into the 16th minute, we are brought to face the accident on which the film is based. A giant mass of rock loosens and slips, falling on Arons hand, crushing it and jamming it against the wall.
Its through the remaining part of the movie that we see him fighting against the rock, introspecting his past, hallucinating about future and finally cutting his hand to free himself. The story being known, the suspense factor was low. And the director knew it well when he started to film it. The screenplay by Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy engage you with such a taut presentation of the storyline that it amazes you with every passing moment. Editing by Jon Harris is another strong point. The film constantly shifts back and forth in time, collaging incidents from Arons past and mixing them seamlessly with his present struggle through those 127 Hours.
The visions of his girl-friend, parents, best friend, relatives, Catherines party " all of them give you goosebumps. Cinematography by Anthony Dod Mantle & Enrique Chediak is top notch. The shadow presence concept was brilliant and deftly executed. Water has been used amazingly as a metaphor throughout the movie. The sight of water leaking from tap as Aron leaves home might not make sense at that point of time then but definitely strikes you when he strives for every drop of it. He fails to grab the swiss-knife which could have made the amputation much simpler, is another image that hits you once the movie is over. The movements of the components of the camera as well as the interior of the pipe through which he sucks air are amazingly represented on celluloid.
If something works the movie down, is the extended portion when Aron thinks about his love life. Its a bit too sluggish and can bore you.
A major goof-up in the movie is the watch. Almost immediately after the accident, Aron is shown taking his watch off with his teeth. But, on the very same night, he is back wearing the watch. How he could have worn the watch back with one free hand and mouth is a tough to believe!!
Notwithstanding that one track and one mess up, 127 Hours remains a delectable piece of cinema.
After a movie which presented the loudness of Indian land pretty well, Danny Boyle chose an extremely challenging idea of making a movie based on just one character. But, he delivers and how! And theres one man who helms the movie from start to bottom. James Franco (known for his roles in Spiderman movies where he played best friend turned nemesis to Tobeys Peter Parker and Sean Penns love interest Scott Smith in the Gus Van Sants Milk) is the one man army in this movie. And is he good enough? He is even better than an entire battalion. With a portrayal so nuanced, so controlled, he brought out the agony of the trapped man with immaculate precision. In short, he is brilliant in the movie.
Though vastly different on content basis, I couldnt help but hunch on a thematic similarity between this movie and Sean Penns directorial classic and my personal favourite Into the Wild starring Emile Hirsch. The protagonist in both the movies go out to enjoy lives on themselves, ultimately getting stuck in their own world of troubles before realising that happiness and successes are half as achieved when alone than with people who love you the most. One dialogue that is especially remarkable and stands out amidst many such ones is when Aron blames himself for getting stuck there without anyone aware of his whereabouts. As he mumbles I chose all this. This rock... this rock has been waiting for me my entire life your heart just goes out for him.
A.R. Rahmans background score is a gem. His music adds on to the image in every scene. Though he won the Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Song for If I Rise but I found nothing exceptional about it.
Cutting back to the chase, 127 Hours is a highly intriguing piece of cinema. If not for anything else, watch the movie just for Francos performance as he carries the 90minute film on his shoulder and leaves you spellbound.
Final words: Must Watch!