By William Wolf

TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2010--'127 HOURS'  Send This Review to a Friend

How would you fare if you were trapped in a deep crevice with no way to escape and no hope that anyone would find you? Worse, your arm is pinned by a boulder that you can’t lift, nor can you pull your arm out from under. Based on a true story, “127 Hours” is harrowing and relentlessly gripping entertainment.

James Franco, in a potentially award-winning performance, plays Aron Ralston, the 26-year-old real-life hiker who became trapped in Canyonlands National Park in Utah. Fortunately Ralston lived to tell the tale of his predicament and survival after a six-day ordeal. Franco makes the experience come vividly alive.

What gives the film greater scope is the way in which director Danny Boyle (“Slumdog Millionaire”) and co-screenwriter Simon Beaufoy intersperse the protagonist’s plight with his thoughts during the crisis and flashbacks into his life. There is even humor in the midst of the terrifying situation, as Ralston videos his predicament, apparently to leave a record for posterity should his remains be found one day. Meanwhile, he is ever more resourceful in attempting ways to break free.

By now you probably have heard of a nerve-wracking sequence that may be difficult for you to watch. You’ll have to see it for yourself and turn away if you can't watch the details. Let’s just say that the film is disarming.

The story reminds me of the recent rescue of the trapped miners in Chile, but at least they had each other’s company during their ordeal and knew people were trying to rescue them. Ralston was totally alone. “127” Hours is a tense, fascinating, deeply human film about courage, determination, a refusal to give up and ultimately an act of great bravery in order to survive. A Fox Searchlight Films release.


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