Danny Boyle made a name for himself with the 1996 heroin filled indie icon of a movie, Trainspotting, he carved out a nice career for himself as a somewhat dark and twisted film maker. Even his attempt at a love story included murder and mayhem in 1997’s A Life Less Ordinary which proved to be a break out role for the Scottish born,Ewan McGregor. He made another cult favorite of a film with the adventurous, tropical escape, The Beach with Leonardo DiCaprio. It wasn’t until 2008 that Danny Boyle made everyone stand-up and take notice when he won best director at the Academy Awards and his film, Slumdog Millionaire took home the best picture award.
That brings us to 2010 where he once again found himself nominated for an Oscar and his picture, 127 Hours up for the best of the year. At the time I firmly believed that this was out of respect for what Slumdog had done two years earlier and therefore had a negative view of the movie before ever seeing it. Needless to say I had no urgent desire to run out and see it and always found something else to watch instead. I must admit, big mistake by me. I recently saw his movie 127 Hours and I must say I was truly floored.
The story is that of Aron Ralston whom you may remember was the young man who was an avid outdoorsmen, who went hiking in the mountains of Utah known as Canyon Land and became trapped and his last resort of survival was to amputate his own arm. Anyone who saw the Today show or Good Morning America will remember him because quite frankly there wasn’t a single one not clamoring to have him on.
James Franco portrays Ralston and is in every single shot in the movie. He is engrossing and absolutely captivating. The real life Ralston had his video camera with him and documented his ordeal of being pinned in the canyon. He shows only close friends and family this video and allowed Franco and Boyle to view his accounts to allow the story to be told the best way it could. The majority of the movie is his documentation of his ordeal and what was going through and the memories he chose to remember and the things he wanted to say to those close to him when he was convinced death was going to be the final result.
I tend to pride myself on the fact that nothing really makes me squeamish and makes me cringe. I was truly humbled during the amputation scene. Before the start of the movie, my wandering mind very briefly wondered, “what if he did this just to be famous and sell a story”. I quickly thought thats absurd, I was then harshly brought back to reality during that horrific scene. Boyle shoots the scene with such reality that I began to think I would almost give up instead of doing that. It is one of the most harrowing scenes I’ve ever witnessed but it was completely necessary to bring about the desired affect that Boyle was looking for and you can’t help but feel like you are with him at that very moment.
The movie is without question showing us the triumph that one person can have and the devastation he can overcome all at once. I saw this film being hailed as a triumph and it truly is nothing less. Amidst all the debilitating obstacles laid in front of Aron he breaks through and survives. A witness of the greatness humans tend to find within themselves when faced with adversary is the feeling Boyle was going for and it could not have come across any better.