My frst review in 2012! But anyway… the story for this one is told in 5 seconds. “Adventurer gets trapped in a cave and has to cut off his right arm to survive.” And yes, I don’t consider this a spoiler since it’s really no secret. But the gross moments of this movie aren’t the ones that make this movie. They play a role in the solution of the story but that’s all.
The movie is about Aron Ralston. A person that actually exists and who really had to go through all the things this film shows. In the beginning of the movie we see him take a break from his city life and job. He’s an adventurer who likes to explore landscapes. Mostly alone. And that’s what’ll haunt him through this movie. Aron is out having fun in the desert, surrounded by canyons and deathtraps. The movie does a great job also showing the beauty of the landscape and nature itself. Almost establishing it as a character of itself. James Franco, who plays Aron Ralston, does a nice job here. You can see in his face how glad and happy he is to be out there. Pure freedom. Then when he tries to climb down a, pretty harmless looking, canyon… he slips. Falling down along with him there is a rock. When both hit the ground Aron’s right arm gets caught between the cave wall and the rock. He’s trapped. That’s the moment where you sit there thinking “how unfortunate can one be?!”. James Franco is great in that moment. Since the camera is pretty much always straight up in his face you needed an actor who can really work with his face. James Franco is one of those. In that particular scene, when he realizes he’s trapped, you can see a hint of panic in his face. At the same time you can see how a thinking process begins to start. “How am I going to get out of this mess?”. You can read that off of his face and eyes. Nice job with that Mr. Franco. From there on we’re captivated. Even if we already sorta know how the story will end. We want to know what all happens on the way.
Technically the movie is very well made. Keeping in mind that most of the movie happens under these close quarter conditions. A lot of Danny Boyle typical cuts bring in some diversion. Flashbacks and hallucinations of Aron fill in certain parts we need to know about him. The Make-up department did a nice job too. Later when Aron’s body starts to sorta give up. The Make-up really made all this visible. Which helps the audience to understand how bad things are for him. The specific “cut off arm” scenes are intense. But not because of the blood. They actually don’t show too much. Which is good. Often enough a simple sound generates the pics automatically in your mind. Far more efficient than blatantly showing it all. They never go too far and keep it all as, what I think, realistic as possible. There are nonetheless plenty of moments where you possibly let out an “Ouch!”.
Ultimately the movie is about learning of the importance to not always do things on your own. That it’s never wrong to let people know where you are and what you’re up to. Don’t be an egomaniac for the sake of being independent. It’s hard to believe but yes, there is a certain breed of people who really are that way. I met the one or another person who is that way.
So yeah, this is a good movie. Not one for a ‘just for fun’ evening though. It’s not a party movie. There are parts that are a little hard to sit through. But it’s worth it. A movie with a message. Can’t be wrong can it?