“127 Hours” received a gold star and a big win today when New York Times head movie critic A.O. Scott chose “127 Hours” as a hallowed Critic’s Pick, calling the film “nearly flawless”. Wow. This from a guy who regularly shows mediocre films directly to the trash bin. Scott doesn’t actually raise one objection or critique of the film, but rather describes what it is and is not, complimenting the choice with each step. With this sort of endorsement, it seems like Boyle, Franco, and Co. are on their way to great success here, and canyoneering might just be thrust into pop culture in a huge way.
After you read Mr. Scott’s typically stimulating commentary (find the beginning excerpt below), check out the Anatomy of a Scene feature, where Danny Boyle talks through a thunderstorm scene from the film, which forces Ralston into a serious Catch-22: Is rain good because it will quench his thirst, or bad because it will flood the canyon and drown him? I guess it is more of a philosophical Catch-22, because when you’re stuck under a boulder, it’s not like you have much choice.
“127 Hours” opens in cinemas nationwide tonight. If you see the film, I’d love to hear what you think about it. Please comment!
By A. O. SCOTT
Published: November 4, 2010
In April 2003 Aron Ralston, a 27-year-old hiker, fell and was trapped in a narrow slot in Blue John Canyon in Utah, his right arm wedged against the rock wall by a boulder. Mr. Ralston’s ordeal — described in many interviews after the fact and in his lively, unaffected memoir, “Between a Rock and a Hard Place” — was a struggle for survival and a profound existential crisis.
But it was also, more pressingly, a practical challenge. Mr. Ralston, a trained engineer and a skilled, if sometimes careless, outdoorsman, understood his predicament, above all, as a series of technical problems. His solution was grisly and dramatic: using the blade of a cheap multipurpose tool, he cut off the immobilized arm between the elbow and the wrist, freeing himself after more than five days. Extreme as this action was, it was also logical, even downright ingenious.
In bringing this horrific, perversely inspirational story to the screen, Danny Boyle has stayed true to Mr. Ralston’s can-do spirit. His new film, “127 Hours,” is itself the frequently dazzling and perpetually surprising solution to an imposing set of formal and creative conundrums. The stakes are not life and death, but rather life and art.