Thursday, March 3, 2011
First, let me thank the people who asked when I was going to start posting again. I took a little break, it's true, due to motivational challenges :). But having people ask about it was awesome, so hugs to you.
Yes, this is the movie about the guy who chopped his arm off. But let me be clear when I tell you that it so much more than just that. Danny Boyle, the gleefully zany director who gave us Trainspotting (perfect), 28 Days Later (perfect, too), and Slumdog Millionaire (...not perfect, but pretty great), is back, and in a whole new universe. He has moved to the American West, and taken his two favorite cinematographers with him, which is a risky move, but well worth it.
I myself have never been to Colorado, and am the first to admit that wide open spaces and vast rocky terrain are not friends of mine. The wide shots in this film confirmed my suspicions: nature is bloody terrifying.
Once again, Mr. James Franco (who I thought did a fine job at the Oscars, all you snarky-pants folks!) hauls out his soul for a part. He plays Aron Ralston, the real-life mountain-climber, mountain-biker, and general thrill-seeker who had the gall to go leaping around in a canyon without telling his mother, or anyone else, where he was going. FAIL. The first 3rd or so of the movie is just Franco going wild on a bike on the rocks, picking up a couple of cute girls (Kate Mara and Amber Tamblyn), and doing a lot of joyful shrieking. Then he gets stuck. And then things get really crazy.
Ralston's past, both far and near, is revealed to us through hazy, swift flashbacks brought on by fear and hunger. There is his childhood, spent climbing with his father (Treat Williams) and picking on his sister. There is a beautiful girl (Clemence Poesy). We watch him struggle and scream, fight for his life and grimly accept his near-certain death. We watch him check his watch, ticking away the hours, the days. The decision that he ultimately makes seems to come from pure adrenaline and an absolute refusal of defeat.
All right, let's talk about THE BIG SCENE. It is very big and very icky. It is also very short, about 2 minutes, but you feel every blessed second of it. When I saw it, I had my hands over my ears, since sounds are more revolting to me than sights. Here's a rundown of other reactions in my audience: outright screaming, knee-hugging, under-seat-hiding, gagging, and popcorn-bag-exploding. Let that be your guide.