127 hours is emotional masterpiece

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THERE’S rarely a film as hyped-up as 127 hours that really lives up to the hype it gets.

But this is a remarkable film for so many reasons. And no, no one fainted in the cinema.

127 Hours is based on the true story of Aron Ralston (played by James Franco), the American climber who set out in 2003 to hike the Blue John Canyon, without telling anyone where he was.

When a boulder fell and crushed his arm, trapping him for five days in 2003, he had no choice but to resort to drastic measures to get out alive.

The film is essentially about Ralston being forced to use a blunt pocket knife to amputate his arm so he can escape the canyon, but really it’s about so much more than that.

Danny Boyle is fast becoming my director of choice, with films like this and Slumdog Millionaire, it seems there is nothing he can’t set his mind to.

He captures the real pain of being trapped, and makes the film about more than just a man having to cut his own arm off. It could have been a gore fest, but it wasn’t. Neither was it heaped in pointless flashbacks to pad it out.

When I sat down to watch this film I wondered how a man trapped in a canyon could hold my attention for an hour and a half, but it did. I was gripped from start to end, and as you watch you feel his pain as the boulder crushes his arm, his frustration as he attempts various ways to get himself free, and eventually his jubilation at freeing himself.

As with all Danny Boyle films, they take you on a rollercoaster of emotions, but you know that at the end, good always triumphs.

There are great, different shots like inside Ralston’s water bottle as we see how his water supply is depleting, inside his arm, as well as footage as Ralston films himself leaving messages for his family, assuming he is going to die.

For a film that most will watch just to see a man cut off his arm, the amputation itself doesn’t actually last that long. Apparently filmed in just one take with multiple cameras, it is as realistic as it is grisly, but without being over the top disgusting. It’s the bone breaking that really sends shivers down your spine.

And at the end of the film, the real Aron makes a heart-warming appearance.

This is a film you need to see to believe it. Even if you close your eyes for the amputation scene, you won’t fail to enjoy a truly remarkable film, about a truly remarkable man. And you will go away feeling very lucky indeed.

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