Thursday, February 10, 2011

127 Hours

Rating : 7/10
Release Date : 28th January, 2011 (India)
Time : 94 minutes
Director & Writer : Danny Boyle; Co-writers : Simon Beaufoy (based on the novel ‘Between a Rock and a Hard Place’ by Aron Ralston); Music : A R Rahman
Starring : Jamie Franco, Kate Mara, Amber Tamblyn

This film is a masterclass in character development, editing, camera work and of course, direction. It takes considerable skill and craft to be able to sustain interest in a film where you know whats going to happen, how it will end. Danny Boyle manages that with ease, helped by some lovely camera angles, great cinematic techniques and a pulsating soundtrack by our very own Rahman.

Aron Ralston (Jamie Franco), an adventure junkie, avid trekker of the Grand Canyon finds himself trapped in a crevice, suspended almost mid air with one hand crushed / trapped under a big, immoveable rock. It’s a freak accident but he is now stuck, low on food, low on water and no one knows where he is….

The reason the film works is because we very quickly fall in love with Aron. His whackiness, sense of adventure, humour, ability to not take himself seriously, his choice of songs, off key singing and most of all, his indomiatable will to live and the steel that lies within. Further meat is added by becoming privy to his thoughts as he finds himself stuck in this strange predicament.

The cinematic techniques used – the split screens, the surreal dream sequences, the water pouring / drinking shots, the pull outs / helicopter shots which reinforce just how big the place really is, the colours – I can really go on – they add so much to the cinematic viewing pleasure. As does the vibrant music, right from the opening track, Rahman is on the ball here.

The film itself works at several levels. You wonder instantly what you would do if caught in the same situation. You ponder about how tenuous our grip on life really is (how dependent we are on things like food, water) ? How much of our life is actually dictated by random events (what if he had answered his mom’s phone, what if he had brought along his Swiss Army knife ) ? How insignificant humans are when pitted against Mother Nature (the vastness of the canyons, the agelessness and tranquillity of the rocks) ?

I liked the way the ‘gory’ parts were shown but glossed over, the way we were spared melodrama, the focus remaining on the will to survive. At the end it was about a guy being stuck behind a rock. That it’s a fascinating watch, despite the inherent dullness of the subject matter, is a tribute to the team behind it !

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