Sep­a­ra­tion anx­i­ety

Pasatiempo - - Moving Images - Robert B. Ker For The New Mex­i­can

127 Hours,

Idrama, rated R, Re­gal DeVargas, 3 chiles If you heard this story seven years ago, chances are you still clearly re­mem­ber it. In 2003, out­door ad­ven­turer Aron Ral­ston was hik­ing in the slot canyons near Hanksville, Utah, when a boul­der broke loose and pinned his fore­arm against a rock wall. There he re­mained for five days, care­fully ra­tioning his wa­ter and chip­ping away at the rock with a penknife, un­til he re­al­ized that the only way to es­cape his predica­ment was to turn the dull blade on his flesh. He broke his bones and sev­ered his arm, fled the canyon, rap­pelled down a cliff face, and hiked the desert un­til he found other peo­ple.

Even though Hollywood loves a good “tri­umph of the hu­man spirit” story, Ral­ston’s tri­umph doesn’t seem like a par­tic­u­larly sexy choice of ma­te­rial, what with the drink­ing of his own urine and cut­ting off his arm to stay alive. It’s grim, un­com­fort­able stuff. But if any­one could bring this tale to the screen, it’s di­rec­tor Danny Boyle, who won an Os­car in 2009 for Slum­dog Mil­lion­aire, a feel-good com­edy about poverty, tor­ture, and un­san­i­tary liv­ing con­di­tions in In­dia.

Boyle has his work cut out for him with 127 Hours; be­sides the un­pleas­ant na­ture of the ma­te­rial, there are lo­gis­ti­cal hur­dles to over­come. Most of the film takes place in one tight set­ting with one ac­tor, and au­di­ences al­ready know the story’s out­come. Ad­di­tion­ally, Ral­ston (played here by James Franco) doesn’t have much of a char­ac­ter arc. He isn’t a jerk who finds re­demp­tion or an emo­tional shut-in who learns to em­brace life af­ter hav­ing a neardeath ex­pe­ri­ence. This is a guy who trots off to the slot canyons

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