Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Review: 127 Hours

It's been a great year for movies. Daybreakers, The Crazies, Human Centipede, Iron Man 2, Toy Story 3, Splice, Winters Bone, Predators, Get Low, The Other Guys, Scott Pilgrim, Last Exorcism, Social Network, we've still got Tron and True Grit to look forward to, not to mention Black Swan, whenever it decides to be available to humans, all in all a good year, and 127 Hours is a welcome addition to what made 2010 so awesome.
I've seen most of Danny Boyle's movies, I think. Like, 28 Days Later is pretty awesome (you can't go wrong with Cilian Murphy and Brendan Gleeson),28 Weeks Later was slightly lacking but nonetheless fairly entertaining, and I've seen Sunshine, which is sweet, I saw Slumdog which I didn't really like although I can appreciate all the effort that went into it (especially how afterwards they threw those Indian kids back into their respective ghettos), and I haven't seen The Beach but I hear tell that Leo is in it.
Alex Garland wrote 28 Days, Sunshine, and The Beach, so I'm sure The Beach has to be at least a little entertaining. Even if it was a full-length prequel to Inception where it was just Leonardo DiCaprio waiting for Saito's men to pick him up on the shore of his subconscious.
Back on point.
Going off of just the marketing they had for the movie, 127 Hours had every right to be just awful. It has a simple plot and everybody knows the ending. Sure, a guy gets stuck in a canyon and nobody comes to save him so he has to cut his arm off (I'm not ruining anything, trust me). But 127 Hours accomplishes something extraordinary- it captures every moment of this mans struggle to survive and puts you not only in the same position as he, but in the same psyche.
I'll just start with the direction, I suppose.
Boyle is definitely getting a nod for his direction, the question is will he win, and I think he has a very good chance. The movie is very purposeful; there is no hesitation. The story this movie is based on is incredible, but just from a humble Cinemerators standpoint, I would think this movie would be impossible to make in todays world of movie making (I'm garrulous, what can I say). The reason I say this is because I don't have much faith, but Danny Boyle has humbled me in a way that's hard to express. He knew exactly what he was doing. He knew precisely how to make this movie and he did it. You can tell- the movie is as confident as the protagonist, and just as vulnerable.
The cinematography is also impressive, but how could it not be? The setting of this movie is in Canyon lands, which is one of the most beautiful and not to mention isolated places in the world. It's about capturing something that people never see, and also capturing those who live inside it. The canyon is alive, that much is certain. It is a living, breathing organism, and the camera soaks up every moment of light that is shed on it. Perspective, scope, all play a huge part- you feel for Aron in a way that makes you pity him- he knows he's trapped and nobody will find him, but you don't really fully understand his situation until the camera pans all the way up to show you just exactly how fucked he is.
The movie is very Danny Boyle and you can tell right off the bat. The editing makes the movie plead, which I don't necessarily like. Let me explain. There are several sequences that try to impress on you the gravity of population density- thus setting up a nice contrast with the isolation felt by Aron. But this also does something else- it makes the movie feel like a commercial for vegan food, if that makes sense. Very earthy, very grounded, very healthy. Clean, is the word. But this just makes me feel dirty in a way. It makes me feel like I'm not doing 'my part'. I'm not 'independent' enough to get this movie. This is an exaggeration. I love independent films but sometimes watching them is like talking to a person who complains about paying too much for their car and gas and everything is just such a hassle and I'm just not having a good day, want some chai tea I'm on a rant, and this is not good. What I'm trying to say is this- bottom line, the movie has a solid tone throughout, and that is something to be respected.
Ok, Franco. I have always like Jimmy Franc, and I knew this day would come. He's getting nominated, there's no doubt about that. There is just s000 much going on with Danny Boyle right now especially after Slumdog that there's no way this movie won't get a hundred nominations. It's just too easy to market to the Academy. But that's not to say it doesn't deserve them, because it does, especially for Franco. This dude makes the movie so entertaining. His don't know what to think of him at first. At first I thought 'Ok, this guy is asking for it', and that's exactly what I was supposed to think. Oops. Oops. My favorite line of the movie- 'Oops'. You end up sympathizing with him for his struggle in a hundred different ways. Everything he feels, you feel. See, this is all natural movie making. What 3D tries to shove in your face this movie smashes with a boulder. He's just such a likable actor you can't help but be wrapped up in his predicament.
There's a lot to say about this movie and that's what makes it good. I mean, sure, you can say that about any movie, but this one is different simply because I didn't think anything way going to happen. I honestly wasn't planning on reviewing this, but there is just so much to talk about. I'm going to go back and add more on later, but for now, please- see this movie. Totally worth the ticket price. It may be 'too independent' for some people but please, do the right thang and get an opinion before just labeling it as independent shlock.

I award 127 Hours 3 and one half out of 4 squirts

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