Aron Ralston(James Franco) takes off alone on a Friday evening to Canyonlands National Park in Utah. He plans to spend the weekend in the park; cycling, trekking and climbing. He starts off Saturday with a lot of energy and enthusiasm and an intent to beat the duration given in the guidebook to reach a particular destination. On his way, he meets two hikers Kristi(Kate Mara) and Megan who are lost. He guides them to their destination by accompanying them. He also shows them a hidden pool inside the park. The trio has a lot of fun by sliding between the rocks and falling into the pool. After this, they part ways.
Aron continues his journey. When navigating his way on a rock formation, Aron steps on a loose rock causing him to fall down. He hits the ground without any major injuries. The loose rock had descended along with him and landed on top of his right hand. As a result, he has limited mobility. Although Aron tries to free his hand, he is unable to. The rest of the movie gives a glimpse what Aron undergoes in the next 127 hours and how he extricates himself out of this predicament.
Danny Boyle directs this movie based on the Aron Ralston’s autobiography aptly titled “Between a Rock and a Hard Place”. Aron’s story is familiar with anyone who has read the book or searched about him on Google. Aron’s story is lifting and inspirational. Danny Boyle deserves kudos for adapting this story into an entertaining movie. Danny succeeds because of three techniques used; the camera, the music and the editing. The cinematography by Anthony Dod Mantle and Enrique Chediak gives an unique perspective of the various scenes. Kristi’s fall into the hidden pool is shown from the viewpoint of Kristi which translates into exhilaration for the viewer. Similarly, the hallucinations of Aron when trapped is heightened by the camera angles chosen. The music by A R Rahman puts the viewer in the right mood. The music in the initial part of the movie is fast and jarring depicting Aron’s state of mind and energy. But at the same time, the music stops at the crescendo leaving the viewer to arrive at his own conclusion. Finally, the editing by Jon Harris ensures that the multiple angle shots are not lost in the final version by either using split screens or by fast cutting between the shots.
James Franco delivers a great performance as Aron Ralston. Aron is optimistic, careless and confident at first. Later in the movie, he imagines and also decides to make amends. His spirit sinks. James Franco successfully brings the contrast to these two phases with his acting. The later part is extremely difficult as an actor. He impresses viewers in the scenes when he frees himself and also during the next few scenes to freedom.
Highly recommended for serious movie lovers. Beware of scenes which are not palatable.