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