Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 48
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
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For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

ON HIS WAY TO BECOMING CAUGHT BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE: Mountain climber Aron Ralston (James Franco) is about to be trapped in a ravine when a dislodged boulder pins his arm to the ravine’s wall. When the accident occurs, Aron quickly realizes that he is in a life threatening situation because nobody knows where he is.

127 Hours: Film Features James Franco as Trapped Mountain Climber

Kam Williams

James Franco is a talented character actor who has played a variety of supporting characters in such movies as Spider-Man, Pineapple Express, Milk, and Date Night. In 127 Hours, he plays the lead role and is alone in the limelight for the bulk of the picture. The film is reminiscent of survival movies such as Tom Hank’s Cast Away and Emile Hirsch’s Into the Wild.

Directed by Oscar winner Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire), the harrowing adventure recreates mountain climber Aron Ralston’s real-life ordeal in the spring of 2003 in a remote desert region of Utah. While hiking one Saturday, he becomes trapped in a ravine when his arm is pinned to a wall by a dislodged boulder.

Because Aron hadn’t informed anyone of his itinerary, he knew there wouldn’t be any rescue party organized to look for him. In fact, no one even noticed his absence until he failed to show up for work on the following Monday.

The desperate 28-year-old had to pin his hopes on the possibility of another climber’s coming along by chance. But neither his prayers nor his bloodcurdling screams were heard over the next five days, where he was literally stuck between a rock and a hard place in the middle of nowhere.

From about 15 minutes into the film until just before its end, the 2½ hour movie features Aron (James Franco) delivering a protracted soliloquy. He convincingly portrays the deteriorating physical, mental, and emotional states of a person forced to reflect upon his life while expecting to die.

After he runs out of food and water, Aron uses his free hand to carve his name and date of birth into the rock. He also videotapes heartfelt farewells to his friends and family, and then becomes delirious as he becomes dehydrated.

Far be it from this critic to spoil the ending for anyone who hasn’t read the newspaper account of his ordeal. Suffice it to say that when Aron finds himself facing certain death, his only option lies in a Hobson’s choice that is as unthinkable as it is gruesome.

Very Good (3 stars). Rated R for profanity, violence, and disturbing images. Running time: 94 Minutes. Distributor: Fox Searchlight.

For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

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