Doubtless you're excited about the new film from SLUMDOG MILLIONARE director Danny Boyle. He's a visionary filmmaker who turns almost everything he touches to gold: aside from the mega-award winning SLUMDOG, his résumé includes the likes of TRAINSPOTTING and 28 DAYS LATER...
Now Boyle's back with a new flick, based on the very true story of mountaineer Aron Ralston, who became trapped by a boulder for over four thousand hours in 2003. Boyle needed a strong, dynamic young talent to recreate Ralston's intense struggle. Boyle picked the charismatic James Franco, who dominates the film and is the sole character for much of its duration. "Franco is simply amazing," writes Marc Savlov in the Austin Chronicle this week, "summoning every actorly skill he possesses to the fore." He also calls this "the performance of [Franco's] career."
Savlov also writes, "127 HOURS is an unrelenting tour de force but it's also...an unforgettable examination of the human spirit under extreme duress." The film presents Franco as Ralston in one of the toughest situations man has encountered, trapped for days with no chance of rescue and options at a minimum. "This is a film about perseverance, strength and the importance of always letting people know where you're going," writes Tom Long in The Detroit News.
Peter Travers of Rolling Stone comments on the amazing feat by director Danny Boyle in taking such a claustrophobic subject and achieving such expansive movie magic. "Leave it to Danny Boyle" he writes, "to expand the possibilities of movies by shrinking his focus." A.O. Scott in the New York Times continues this logic: “127 HOURS is itself the frequently dazzling and perpetually surprising solution to an imposing set of formal and creative conundrums. The stakes are not life and death, but rather life and art." Scott gave the film the NYT Critics Pick for the week.
Adds Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post, "With a nervy, vivid visual style and a commitment to humanism at its most life-affirming, Boyle makes the unbearable not just endurable, but beautiful."
The film does come to an amazing, seat-edge climax, in which Franco's character, um, removes himself from the wretched situation he is in. This scene is already famous, in part from reports that audience members have fainted while watching it. Do not let that difficult moment keep you away from the film. As Hornaday warns, "Although Ralston's act of desperation is admittedly difficult to watch, viewers who might avoid the film out of squeamishness would be depriving themselves of one of the year's most exhilarating cinematic experiences."
A.O. Scott mirrors this sentiment and argues that the gruesome moments of the film are its most powerful. "To say that this movie gets under your skin is only barely a figure of speech. It pins you down, shakes you up and leaves you glad to be alive." Betsy Sharkey adds in the Los Angeles Times, "127 HOURS is one man's incredible, unforgettable journey; it took the extraordinary alchemy of Boyle and Franco to also make it ours."
You've got to see 127 HOURS, which has been driving audiences in New York and LA crazy. We're really excited to open it at the Alamo South Lamar today. Advance tickets are available here.