After seeing Danny Boyle's (one of the most interesting and exciting filmmakers working today) masterful new bio-pic of "real-life superhero" Aron Ralston, I have been struck by the very real fact that no matter what I do in my life, no matter what greatness I've yet to achieve, I will never be a fraction as awesome as Mr. Ralston.
He is better than I am. He is better than you are too. All that any of us can aspire to be in life is no more than a boil on the anus of this Man.
It's impossible for me to discuss this film without going into spoiler territory, so if you are somehow unaware of Ralston's ordeal and wish to remain completely ignorant before you sprint to whatever theater nearest you is showing this film, and you should be sprinting, then stop reading now.
127 Hours begins with Ralston (James Franco) mountain biking, alone, through the rocky, barren Utah wilderness. He encounters a couple of young ladies, has a quick adventure that shows them, and the audience, how awesome and carefree he is. Then, roughly fifteen minutes into the film, Ralston falls into a crevice and gets his arm pinned under a bolder. This is where the majority of the film's remaining ninety or so minutes take place.
Damn near everyone in the audience knows how this story is going to end. Ralston, with his grapefruit-sized testicles and inhuman tenacity, uses a dull pocket knife, about two inches long, to sever his own arm off at the elbow in order to climb out of the crevice and hike several miles before being rescued. The beauty of this film is the way that Boyle is able to ratchet up the tension virtually non-stop until we get there, the photography is gorgeous and the sound editing is brilliant and haunting. The idea of severing his arm off occurs to Ralston almost immediately, and is foreshadowed constantly, but during the 5 days that he is pinned beneath the bolder, starving and hallucinating due to dehydration, he exhausts all his other options before finally accepting his fate.
This is being heralded as one of those "triumph of the human spirit" stories. And it is, it certainly makes you contemplate on the value of life, and the refusal of the human heart to accept defeat and all that happy Hallmark bullshit. But at no point during the soon to be infamous "severing scene" did I think to myself "yes! I am capable of this level of will power and determination!" Fuck that. I would have died underneath that rock, and most of you would have too. And let's say that you DID find it in yourself to sever through muscle, tendon and nerve endings with a dull blade, would you then have it in you to climb up one cliff, down another and hike 8,000 (roughly) miles? Maybe you would. What the hell do I know? (You wouldn't)
By the end of this movie my nose was sniffling and my eyes were watering because I feel like the world is somehow a greater place for having at least ONE dude as dudely as Aron Ralston in it. Maybe if I'm ever stuck at the bottom of a crevice he will find me and (after heavily sedating me) use his bionic arm powers to rescue me. Because if he doesn't, I'm screwed.
Amazing film. Outstanding performance by James Franco. See it.
James Franco as Aron Ralston
The Real Ralston (Before)