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Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours – The Director is the Star

It’s always interesting to see what directors will do as their next project after they win Oscars. ¬†They are given freedom that they sometimes didn’t have before as production companies have more faith in them. ¬†In some cases, directors get to do dream projects.

Then take Danny Boyle. ¬†Like his movies or not, you can’t deny that he may be one of the more eclectic directors around. ¬†He’s done horror, science fiction, romantic comedy, won an Oscar for Slumdog Millionaire, and now uses all his tricks in 127 Hours. ¬†While James Franco may occupy the screen for the entirety of the film, its all about Danny Boyle.
127 Hours is very much a survival film, most of it taking place in one location, based on the real-life story of Aron Ralston who trapped his arm between a canyon in a boulder after a brutal fall, and had to escape with a pocketknife. ¬†What’s notable about the character of Aron Ralston, played with eccentricity by James Franco, is that he’s old enough to show regret about choices he made, most of them about not treating parents properly, but young enough to be depressed about his non-future, in this case, the family he may never get to have. ¬†This idea is portrayed at its best during a comedic but touching scene as Ralston interviews himself on his own digital camera.
Despite taking place in one spot for majority of the film, Boyle keeps the movie exciting for the full ninety minutes with his usual frantic editing and interesting camera techniques. ¬†When it comes time for Franco to make his escape, he doesn’t pull any punches. ¬†He’ll gross you out more then any Saw movie, but since you actually care about Ralston, your hands are gripping the seats even more.
James Franco is especially effective as Aron Ralston. ¬†He shows an attractive wildside that works well when he shows two girls a few surprises on a trail. ¬†When things go bad for Ralston, Franco is the only one on screen for rest of the movie, minus a few daydream moments. ¬†He’s able to transition his confidence into fear and into some bits of comedy without a problem. ¬†It may be his finest work to date.
Boyle, while confessing to not be an outdoor man, creates a good survival piece that never bores. ¬†It may not compare to the worldwide appeal of Slumdog Millionaire, but it’s another great piece to add to the varied reel of Danny Boyle.
Other ruminations around Telluride:
-As exciting as it may be to spread the rumor, the person that fainted during 127 Hours did not faint because of the brutal final scenes, but because of altitude sickness.
-Is there anyone as happy as Danny Boyle? ¬†As his movie was introduced, he was blushing as if it never happened before, and remains one of the most approachable director stars that I’ve encountered.
-Seeing Aron Ralston present at the Q&A was the best thing about Telluride so far.
Black Swan makes its Telluride debut tomorrow sans Natalie Portman.
-Critics may love Never Let Me Go, but audiences continue to be divided.  Everyone can agree that Carey Mulligan is amazing though.
-There really isn’t a movie that all audiences are getting behind. ¬†The closest may be Errol Morris’ Tabloid, which has had two sold out shows in smaller venues. ¬†The Kings’ Speech, featuring Geoffrey Rush and Colin Firth is also getting people excited.