Pillbox

127 Hours: A true story of survival and triumph

James Franco plays Carnege Mellon alumnus Aron Ralston in _127 Hours_, a film recounting Ralston’s struggle to survive on a mountaineering trip. (credit: Courtesy of David Shankbone) James Franco plays Carnege Mellon alumnus Aron Ralston in _127 Hours_, a film recounting Ralston’s struggle to survive on a mountaineering trip. (credit: Courtesy of David Shankbone)

Directed by Danny Boyle, 127 Hours is a dynamic, true story portraying the inner struggle of a man facing certain death. When mountaineer Aron Ralston becomes trapped by a boulder for over five days in Blue John Canyon in Moab, Utah, with no hope of rescue, he slowly comes to terms with his own mortality and discovers an untapped strength of will within himself.

The movie is remarkable in the fact that the majority of it takes place in the same bit of canyon watching a man who can’t move, yet it is still entertaining. The creative camera angles and use of imagery put the viewers in Ralston’s shoes and make them feel his traumatic experience as if it were their own. Director Boyle takes us through the mind of Ralston and his different stages of anger and denial, acceptance, and irrepressible will to live.

Although the whole film is portraying one very tense and stressful situation, humor is peppered throughout the story in a very natural way. James Franco does a good job of exploring Ralston’s reactions to his plight, balancing between sanity and insanity. As he teeters one way and then the other, he reaches a critical moment where all of his problems and struggles in life seem to come down to this one boulder crushing his arm. “This rock has been waiting for me my entire life.... I’ve been moving towards it my whole life. The minute I was born, every breath I’ve taken, every action, has been leading me to this crack on the outer surface.”

Picturesque, vast landscapes combined with creative filming and a realistic performance by Franco make this story come alive and will have you on the edge of your seat, dealing with the same feelings and thoughts that Ralston must have had. This movie is a winner because it makes the viewer care deeply about and connect with the protagonist, something that is pushed to the wayside too often in most movies, which instead use special effects and over-dramatized action sequences in place of plot development. 127 Hours is truly a story of survival and triumph.

Ralston is a 1997 engineering graduate of Carnegie Mellon, making this movie a must-see for Carnegie Mellon students.