127 Hours (2010)
So would you give your right arm for a good movie? 127 Hours is the true-life tale of a man trapped between a rock and a hard place. Hiking in dusty canyons, James Franco gets his arm pinned under a rock. And that’s about it from the plot standpoint. That’s because everything is leading up to the grisly inevitability that he will be forced to cut his own arm off for survival. And director Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire) does not let you off the hook. You will see every gruesome second of a man hacking away his own arm, slicing nerve-by-nerve, crushing bones, etc. It’s not the uplifting experience that Boyle and the producers mistakenly believe. The film’s true success is that it still manages to be entertaining and exciting, despite having a central character unable to move more than inches. It’s fascinating to watch Franco use the tools at his disposal to survive for five days before, well, you know. Boyle does a terrific job of making an intimate almost claustrophobic plot feel much more open. Nobody probably could have done this movie better than Boyle, taking his kinetic trademark style and allowing us to enter the mind of Franco’s fallen hiker. 127 Hours isn’t so much an inspirational tale as it is a morbid curiosity that entertains in spurts. But all the visual tricks in the world can’t get people to want to pay to see a man cut off his own arm.
Nate’s Grade: B