"127 Hours" worth 90 minutes of your time
Based on the autobiographical book, "Between a Rock and a Hard Place", by Aron Ralston, the movie "127 Hours" stars James Franco as Aron who accidentally lodges his right hand between a giant 800 pound bolder and a narrow canyon wall and must do whatever necessary to get out alive.
Aron vs boulder
The film opens with split shots of crowds and singular objects subtly showing that Aron purposefully stays away from the crowds for some reason. When the credits are over, we see him in his absolute prime: in the wilderness by himself with absolutely no one around. Then, in a moment of cockiness, it happens. An under-estimated jump causes Aron to slip and fall into a crevasse, a boulder grasping his arm with 800 pound force.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, James Franco explains that Boyle left him for four hours with the camera running with the instructions, “Just try in every way humanly possible to move this boulder.”
Boyle develops a physically motionless character
Surprisingly, Boyle succeeds in the extremely difficult task of illustrating character development without the main actor moving...literally at all! Through a series of flashbacks as well as funny/not so funny video camera recordings (Aron took a video camera with him on his hike so he actually recorded his ordeal first hand), we as the audience witness Aron’s day to day attitude and reactions in his life before the incident.
As the memories become more personal and intimate, it’s clear to both the audience and to Aron that his pride and selfishness is the main problem with his isolation from the rest of humanity. Through the sheer irony of life, the 800 pound boulder has now not only become a physical obstacle, but a metaphorical one as well.
There were some significant moments within the film that genuinely touched me. In one scene, where Aron truly believes he is about to die, he looks back on his life and analyzes the situation that he’s in. “This boulder has been waiting for me since before I was born, since it was a meteorite. Every breath and step I have taken has led up to this moment....I caused this. I put myself here,” he says.
I am definitely the type of person who believes that everyone’s life has been planned from beginning to end and when I saw this point in the film, I couldn’t help but think that one day I will have my own giant boulder to face. We each have some type of “boulder” within our lives that we will have to deal with that is preventing our life journey from moving forward. Hefty trials in our past may seem like mere pebbles in comparison to what lies ahead.
Reflecting on the message
Many people will probably say that the film made them want to appreciate the small things in life because you never know when your time’s up. But I feel that I already do that. I love the sun kissing my face, seeing the sparrows eat French fries off the ground, or the smell of the winter night. My parents have always taught me the simple pleasure of feeding the birds, enjoying silence and feeling your lungs expand when you take in a breath. I don’t want my young life to be lived “in the moment” like the Roaring Twenties where some people didn’t appreciate what they had until it was gone. I want to soak up what I have been blessed with and have meaning in my youth that isn’t defined by frivolous emotions or “I’m gonna live forever” pride because I do not know when life itself could be taken away from me. When I find myself facing my own boulder, I want to remember who my Rock really is.