Archive for April, 2011

127 hours

Posted: April 26, 2011 in Cinema
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I watched Danny Boyle’s 127 hours the other day. I thought it was an extremely interesting film, especially because it takes special skill to make an engrossing film, when about two-thirds of the narrative has your main protagonist wedged between two rocks, with no rescue team in sight.

The film is based on the real life story of mountaineer Aron Ralston, and runs with the tag line “a triumphant true story”.

The method of storytelling has some similarities with the style seen in Castaway many years ago. But I think 127 hours was a lot more difficult to make, simply because the plain of action is so much more narrower. Also, Castaway was an actor’s film, and more than just a little of the film’s appeal lay in the complex themes of savagery versus civilization (so reminiscent of William Golding) that intersected with an otherwise linear narrative. On the other hand, even when 127 hours revolves around a single protagonist just like Castaway, it is a director’s film. The actor is important, yet incidental to the larger narrative. We remember Castaway for Tom Hanks. But Danny Boyle could have made 127 hours with any other actor. Then finally, unlike Castaway, the thematic significance here is a lot simpler. This film is simply about the undying human capacity to dream and hope.

In doing this, 127 hours seems to bring together all Danny Boyle’s previous work. Like in Slumdog Millionaire, this is a film about dreams that never die and the human spirit’s capacity to overcome tremendous odds. But unlike Slumdog Millionaire, which also integrated a dream like Bollywood spirit into the narrative, this film resonates with the gritty realism that is Danny Boyle’s trademark style and also characteristic of British filmmaking.

It’s not surprising that this film got ignored at the Oscar’s though. Gritty realism is after all something that neither Hollywood nor Bollywood have completely understood or appreciated.

So I would go with a rating of 4 on 5 for this film. It’s an engrossing film, and definitely a toughie of a story to tell.