I came into this movie with high expectations. Danny Boyle, who brought us 28 DAYS LATER and SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE had a lot to live up to with the quality of prior movies, and he did not disappoint. He brought the challenge of creating an interesting movie based on our main character being immobile to life, and captivating it was. Being stuck with our main character the entire duration of the film was anything but tedious, as we follow the thoughts of canyoneer Aron Ralston (James Franco) as he gets trapped under a rock while exploring the beautiful sights of Utah. The camera does a fabulous job taking us everywhere a wandering mind might migrate in a situation such as this.
The human connection element was most fascinating, as we wonder what we would do if placed in a similar situation. We are really "with" Ralston on his journey, as we see him discover a reason to live and how his life perspective changes, not just how to get free from his predicament. The film manages to stay optimistic and warming, despite the frustration and angst felt by Ralston and viewers. And we certainly thank Boyle for some of the lighter moments that temper the severity of the situation.
The film does not shy away from tough choices and certainly keeps it "real" during the entire run, especially during the critical climax scene. Despite being stuck in place the movie is fascinating at the pace with which it moves and keeps the audience's attention from start to finish. So while Ralston loves living on the edge, we see Boyle create this movie in a similar fashion, metaphorically speaking, as the intensity and gripping nature of Ralston's circumstances comes alive and sucks us in.
In the movie Aron Ralston sets off on a typical weekend excursion being outdoors and with nature. During his journey he befriends a couple of female hikers who are somewhat lost and looking to get back on their way. He shows them the ropes of the canyons and they set off home. Little do they know that their friend will need their help just moments later. Becoming trapped under a rock, Ralston now is faced with the challenge of keeping himself alive while trying to break loose from the rock's firm grasp. As Aron works on a solution, we see him wonder about the party he's been invited to just hours earlier, think about how his has ignored his family, wonder about where he left his Gatorade, which would keep him hydrated longer, do a live interview featuring himself on camera, and drink his own urine.
I think the part of the movie that moved me the most actually occurred after the climax, where we see Ralston, broken, desperate, and willing to end his lone-wolf mentality for good. The emotions felt during the last 5 minutes signify human triumph, perseverance, and the power of the human spirit. Incredible movie, a definite must-see 9/10 stars
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