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November 03, 2010


Thanks very much. I suspected something like what you describe. You've saved me from walking out of an expensive movie.

I think that, more than help, Ralston needed a brain transfusion. This is nothing more than the art-house version of "Jackass 3D" (and even the Jackass crew employ safety measures and work as a team). I cannot for the life of me understand Boyle's (and the fawning filmgoing audience's) obsession with this man's foolhardiness and stupidity. Then again, as he showed with "Sunshine," where his team of supposedly highly qualified astronauts behaved like undisciplined idiots until they got themselves killed, Boyle seems to regard human stupidity as essential to drama. Count me out. I'd rather watch Johnny Knoxville and his guys do it for laughs.

I have a suspicion that cinematography and sound track aren't the only licenses taken with the story. The scene in the trailer where Aron and the two girls drop down the slot into the water didn't happen in Bluejohn Canyon. There is no feature like that in the immediate area. It could have happened at Lake Powell, but that's miles and miles away. If the movie is true-to-life that scene only happened in Mr. Ralston's dehydrated, delusional mind.

I'll see the movie in a week or two. If your assessment is correct, and I have no reason to doubt that it is, it will prove sad if the director didn't explore the crushing lonliness that Mr. Ralston must have experienced. I've hiked alone near there, though through much less challenging canyons. I've also explored Bluejohn Canyon with friends. A person can go a long long time down there and the only sounds they will hear are their breath, their footsteps, the wind, and their beating heart. That element alone makes the area either fantastically liberating or utterly terrifying.

Some final notes. Bluejohn Canyon is near Moab, UT the same way Los Angeles is near San Diego. Yes, they are in the same general area and relatively close as the crow flies, but it takes about 2 hours to drive between the two.

I enjoyed this film, yet I am ambivalent whether I should have. What would Bresson or Melville have done with this source material?

A beautifully written review and after having just watched this film I generally agree with the writer. This is not to say that the film is a poor or unsatisfying one... there are some strong scenes and I found the ending cathartic, a relief from the usual nihilism found in modern movies. What bothered me was the superficial treatment of the subject matter and as mentioned the constant barrage of images in places where you'd expect some impact of atmosphere and/or loneliness. Also quite ironic I found is that the film is called 127 hours, yet you barely ever get the sense of time flowing slowly or standing still (which I imagine Ralston had felt acutely in his horrific predicament). Instead you're hammered with hallucinations and flashbacks from the moment he gets stuck to the moment he extricates himself. Another thing: there's a supremely annoying and unnecessary scene where Ralston imagines himself on a television show, a few days after getting stuck. To me stuff like that is just inconceivable, but it's supposedly a true story and the protagonist is an American so who knows...

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