There are few stories that can make you appreciate life as much as this tale does. Adapting the true story of Aron Ralston, James Franco plays the adventure-seeker who’s recklessness finally catches up to him in the form of a canyon and a boulder. Trapped for the time identified in the film’s title, Aron struggles first through the challenge of being trapped, then the loneliness, then the lack of rations and finally trying to fight for survival. The combination of difficult elements forces Aron to make tough decisions with the hope of finding life after tragedy.
Starring: James Franco (Aron Ralston), Kate Mara (Kristi), Amber Tamblyn (Megan), Sean Bott (Aron’s friend), Treat Williams (Aron’s dad), Kate Burton (Aron’s mom), John Lawrence (Brian)
With the film based on a true story, it becomes easier to feel the pain and emotion of Franco as he fights for survival. This is a major step up from Franco’s normal roles in more mainstream flicks like Spiderman and Pineapple Express. He finally gets to show some range, with the reckless, thrill-seeking behavior before the fall and the transformation to survival mode afterwards. His pain becomes the viewers pain as his actions on screen cause the movie-goer to question whether they could make the same tough choices. Definitely a performance worth some recognition. As for the other characters, there is little interaction with another else in the film than Franco, but they serve their roles as supporting members of Franco’s adversity.
While the performance by Franco is very strong and the action on-screen is gripping, the end message of needing a human connection is contradicted by the fact that he tells no one where he is going. That may be the point, but the hallucinations with seeing his family and his past love dramatize the pain more emotionally than may have actually occurred. Still, Danny Boyle does a great job directing the combination of personal struggles and pain, all leading to the decision of sacrificing his arm to save his life. It feels like a trap in Saw but this one really happened.
I may never watch this movie again (difficulty with the cutting of one’s own arm), but it is a story worth experiencing to appreciate the life we have.
Dan’s Rating: 3.5/5