Plot: Based on the true story of Aron Ralston (James Franco), a mountain climber who gets trapped under a boulder and stuck for several days. The film follows his time under the boulder and the measures he ultimately has to take in order to survive.
I know what you’re thinking; this sounds like something that won’t hold my interest for ninety minutes, but I bet the film will totally surprise me. No…it literally is what the film says it is; a guy trapped under a boulder alone on screen for ninety minutes. There are great moments here, but really, this is boring. When he first gets trapped, it’s kind of interesting and suspenseful, but it gets to a point where they have to manufacture other drama, and it just didn’t work for me at all.
So what do I mean when I say “manufactured drama?” Well, like I said, when Aron first gets trapped, it’s an interesting set-up. We get a truly horrifying shot of how isolated this guy is. We also see some great trial and error of him trying to break free. But there comes a point where the director (Danny Boyle) knows he can’t do this the whole movie, and that’s where images of his family creep up, he starts to lose it with other hallucinations and flashbacks, as well as a bunch of other stuff. This is the entire middle of the film. And all these elements are just done really poorly. They were very awkward and silly and just didn’t hold my interest. The movie really loses me because of this.
Part of the problem is the majority of people know how this story ends, so it’s kind of like, “Let’s just get to it already.” He also records himself with messages to his family, and they are just repetitive. I wanted to feel emotion for it, but I just wasn’t because of the repetition.
James Franco does a very good job, but honestly, I wasn’t blown away. He carries the movie fine, but I just wasn’t totally enraptured by it. There is so much of him reflecting and sipping every ounce of water, it’s all so repetitive; I started becoming numb to all of it. It’s a sad situation, but it’s simply not interesting after a while. Nothing happens! Franco does have one fantastic scene in which he basically records himself pretending he’s on a talk show that was superb. It’s easily the highlight of the movie and gave me the emotion I had been looking for.
The score by A.R. Rahman was all over the place. Sometimes it was fantastic and hit the mood just right, but other times it was so bad, loud and obnoxious, that quite frankly, not only did I not like it, I wanted to step out of the theater at some points. It really was that uneven.
When we finally get to the end and witness what this guy ultimately has to do, it was cringe worthy and emotional, but it didn’t hit me as hard as I wanted it to because the movie is so repetitive and excruciating.
Look, the story of this guy is incredible, but it didn’t make for a great movie. I know people love Danny Boyle, but I think another director could have done a better job with the middle part of this film and create more convincing drama. There are some damn good elements here making it worth a look, but otherwise, this was mostly a forgettable film.
Rating: 6 out of 10 (‘meh’)