(MA) Fox DVD/BD
Danny Boyle’s (Slumdog Millionaire) film about outdoor adventurer Aron Ralston is one of those stories that seemed from the outset an impossible task. How do you make a film about a guy who is trapped up to his wrist by a boulder for 127 hours and make it watchable?
While it’s hard to call a film of this nature entertainment, Boyle does his utmost to give us an intimate portrait of a man caught literally between a rock and a hard place.
Does Ralston give up, full of regret about the bad decision he made not telling anyone where he was going, or is his thirst for life so great he would risk everything to live to tell the story?
The fact that he does the latter gives us insight into the lengths humans can go to preserve life.
From the opening frenetic frames of the film, viewers know what grisly fate awaits 90 minutes later — as Ralston (James Franco) gets ready in the pre-dawn light, he quickly finds provisions for his pack and tries a couple of times to find his Swiss Army Knife.
He gives up and leaves to get out of the city into the Utah wilderness he knows so well.
Ralston is fearless, jumping over ravines and traversing cliffs as he moves over the landscape. He meets fellow trail walkers and then goes it alone.
When the unthinkable happens and a boulder follows him down a ravine and pins his right arm beneath it, he is at first introspective and then, as the hours wear on, he begins to hallucinate, even interviewing himself at one humorous point about his mistake at not telling anyone where he was going.
We pick up Ralston’s personality and care about his fate because of the clever film technique (Boyle’s fast-paced editing and saturated frames) and Franco’s excellent performance.
A picture of revelation and redemption is conjured as Ralston begins to deeply think about the connections in his life and what is worth living for.
The boulder becomes Ralston’s wake up call — to be as engaged with those around him as he was in his pursuit of his next adventure.
We are fearfully and wonderfully made by God and this film is nothing if not a testament to how precious each life is.
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