Tell us what you thought of ‘127 Hours’

Posted by · 12:07 pm · November 5th, 2010

I think it’s safe to say we’ve offered plenty on Danny Boyle’s “127 Hours” as of late. Here are my thoughts from Telluride and Guy’s totally different take from London fest. The film opens in limited release today and I’m eager to hear some reader thoughts, so cut loose with your reaction in the comments section below once you see it.  (It opens wide on November 19 so feel free to re-visit this thread then.)

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25 responses so far

  • 1 11-05-2010 at 12:35 pm

    Joe W said...

    Saw it a few weeks ago at a screening in LA. Incredibly moving and intense. James Franco definitely gives a career-best performance and deserves a win (haven’t seen King’s Speech yet, though). I would consider this Boyle’s best work to date. The originality, creativity, and filmmaking freedom that he extracts from the circumstances is inspiring. Loved this movie.

  • 2 11-05-2010 at 12:49 pm

    Michael said...

    Yes Yes Yes! Thanks for doing this Kris (:^D) I know it wasn’t just for me haha but I am also extremely interested to read other people’s thoughts on this film. I will be coming back on 11/19/10 to write my review but it will be cool to see what the other earlybirds have to say.

  • 3 11-05-2010 at 1:40 pm

    Evan said...

    Saw this at TIFF and thought it was great, although not quite the masterpiece that some have claimed it to be. The first 40 or so minutes are just so good that the rest of the movie never quite lives up to it. The hallucinations dragged on a bit at times and the stuff with the ex-girlfriend seemed unnecessary. Franco was phenomenal, although I think Eisenberg was better in The Social Network and deserves the Oscar the most out of the performances I have seen so far this year. As for the arm cutting scene, it was tough to watch, although I would argue it was the sound effects that really did it and the out of nowhere dull knife stab earlier in the film made me cringe more. Still, despite my few reservations I thought it was excellent and recommend that everyone see it.

  • 4 11-05-2010 at 2:03 pm

    Danny King said...

    My thoughts are much more positive than Guy’s, but I’m hesitant to overpraise the film. Its a technical marvel in many ways, and Franco’s performance is something that could define his career, but that didn’t stop my emotional reaction from being somewhat limited.

    In the finale, and a tiny bit in the introduction, I think Boyle lays on the thematic message a bit too thick. It’s tough for me to say if a more subtle approach would have worked better, but Boyle’s choice to border on overkill didn’t do it for me. Overall, though, it’s completely worth-seeing, and despite the explicit amputation scene, I think it’s a relatively harmless effort that almost all viewers will get some fulfillment out of.

    My full review, if anyone’s interested:

  • 5 11-05-2010 at 2:58 pm

    cineJAB said...

    this is only in 4 theaters nationwide…

  • 6 11-05-2010 at 3:07 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    In the two cities that have the most focused traffic for IC…

  • 7 11-05-2010 at 5:32 pm

    Jacob S. said...

    I’ll revisit this thread in two weeks if I decide not to watch Deathly Hallows over and over again.

  • 8 11-05-2010 at 5:39 pm

    Graysmith said...

    Maybe instead of separate posts you could make a weekly Friday post that covers reactions to all movies that are opening that weekend (as well as any other “reviews” people might want to share since not everyone on here lives in North America).

  • 9 11-05-2010 at 5:40 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    That’s the point of Cinejabber, more or less.

  • 10 11-05-2010 at 7:29 pm

    Michael said...

    I really liked your full review Danny King. I am really beginning to get a full sense of what to expect now from this film. I am pretty stoked but have an appropriate amount of reservations when it comes out in 2 weeks.

  • 11 11-05-2010 at 8:29 pm

    Ben M. said...

    I saw the film today, and while I liked it a bit more than Guy (I would say a C rather than D+) I agree with his complaints of the film being overactive visually and character development getting sidelined. It seemed like the audience liked the film, though perhaps not loved.

    Probably the biggest thing that seemed to put people in the audience off where the intensity of some scenes; there were certainly a few people gasping and shaken by the amputation scene, which I had to say made me flinch also. While far from my biggest complaint with the film, I don’t think Boyle needed to go so graphic (the sequence was borderline NC-17 IMO) to get his point across.

  • 12 11-05-2010 at 8:41 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    “the sequence was borderline NC-17”

    I’m sorry, but… huh?

  • 13 11-05-2010 at 8:48 pm

    mikey67 said...

    Way to insult your readership. San Francisco here. And irritated that I have to wait.

  • 14 11-05-2010 at 8:53 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    The thread is open to anyone who has access to the film, and will remain open as everyone gets to see it. It’s not going away. We’re just interested to hear feedback from our readership as soon as folks can offer it. How is that insulting?

    After all, our international readers don’t claim to be insulted when we spotlight US releases they have to wait months to see. I’ve been there, and I recognise your irritation. ;)

  • 15 11-05-2010 at 9:02 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    What Guy said.

  • 16 11-05-2010 at 9:06 pm

    Speaking English said...

    ***(the sequence was borderline NC-17 IMO)***

    You don’t get an NC-17 rating for violence, silly.

  • 17 11-05-2010 at 9:12 pm

    Ben M. said...

    I don’t work for the MPAA so I don’t know what their standards are, but it seemed to me to be as grisly if not more so then footage cut for R ratings from films like Predator and Gladiator. Certainly with the reports of fainting in some screenings, it does seem like the scene is too much even for many adults, and Boyle has admitted he considered cutting it down due to the reaction.

    Now I suppose you could say that aside from seeing the nerve cutting, a lot of the scene was more how it sounded then what it looked like, but I know the MPAA does consider sound effects when determining ratings. Not saying it should clearly have been NC-17 (frankly for all the hate the MPAA has gotten recently, Monsters being R instead of PG-13 and Salt being PG-13 instead of R are the only two ratings I really disagreed with so far this year) but it is an extremely intense scene.

  • 18 11-05-2010 at 9:53 pm

    Kevin K. said...

    Saw it last week at Austin Film Fest, and I’m leaning toward it being my favorite film of the year. Back to back screenings of 127 HOURS and BLACK SWAN is a little much to take in, but both are in my top ten so far. I’m leaning towards Boyle’s film simply because it moved me more than anything I’ve seen this year, but I wanna see it again to see how it holds up before I really commit to that opinion. But it’s such an extraordinary achievement regardless, and Franco is my favorite male performance of the year so far.

  • 19 11-06-2010 at 12:50 pm

    Todd said...

    Truly a masterpiece! Can’t work for everyone to see it. Look forward to hearing all the comments.

  • 20 11-06-2010 at 10:56 pm

    Ibad said...

    I love me some Danny Boyle, but this still surpassed my expectations. Especially as I was watching it, like, by the time he actually got trapped I was just like, “wait…so now the next few hours are gonna be filled up with the limited scenarios possible for him being trapped there for five days?” And I kind of that it would be a wasted venture because everyone in the audience was just waiting for that scene, anyways. But it turned out to be more of an intensive character study than anything else, in the vein of people being at their most exposed when faced with extraordinary circumstance. First we see this very cocksure personality thrown into a situation of utter fear and vulnerability that he’s more or less based his presentation of himself to avoid showing some semblance of at all times. Then we get into the touching flashbacks that just add layers to what we as an audience understand Franco’s character as being and lends itself to the visceral experience of what he’s now going through. And then it starts getting really exciting, because at this point both Franco and Boyle have established a sense of stake felt by the audience by how much we end up knowing about Ralston. For my money I’d say this is the first “great” performance Franco has ever given, and he’d be perfectly worthy of the Oscar this year (though at this point I don’t see this beating Firth, just based on Firth’s circumstantial advantages). But what was really great is how the film and Franco’s performance both lent to each other, and respectively made the other as strong as possible. At the beginning I was a little iffy at all the bells and whistles, and three split screens and sequences that really just resembled a gatorade commercial. And I’m sure people here will hate it, because a lot of posters confused cinematic sequences with sloppy direction or something. But we eventually see the ways in which Boyle infuses that kind of commercialized pop culture that distinguishes modern human civilization from the more deadly and unforgiving world of nature that he otherwise engulfs you in for most of the film. And it does bring up the question of the visual connotations of all various symbols that you’d see to advertising anything in which Boyle makes some really genuinely interesting statements that I think is just used to brilliant effect. My Film Theory professor will surely get a hoot out of this flick. And to be honest those are the briefest thoughts I could give at the moment. There is really so much room that I can delve into with a more in depth review that I might churn out at some point tonight or tomorrow, we’ll see. Buuuut yeah.

  • 21 11-07-2010 at 4:43 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Good comment, Ibad, but it’d be much easier to read in paragraphs. Just a note.

    For my part, I’m unconvinced that Boyle’s semiotic statements on advertising really bolster (or even belong to) Ralston’s story.

  • 22 11-07-2010 at 7:36 am

    Michael said...

    @ibad – I love how you said at the end that those are the “briefest thoughts” you could give at the moment LOL. I enjoyed your comment a lot, and it definitely offers a different take on the film than a lot of reviews I have read so far. I like when a film like this can be so divisive and cause a healthy debate. Regardless of where it stands for most people after they see it, I find it commendable at the very least that it isn’t a dismissible effort and even those that didn’t particularly like it have strong reasons why they feel that way.

    It reminds me of the reaction some people had to Precious last year (not comparing the two films in any way) where there was a sense that the majority of critics really stood behind it but there was still a very vocal group that did not take too well to the film and had extremely valid reasons for not liking it (and mostly expressed them in well-written ways.) I remember after watching it with a group of friends, some of us hated it and some loved it but no one just shrugged and thought it was nothing special where there was nothing to say about it. I am beginning to feel that this is going to be a similar experience when I see this movie and I can’t wait to tell which side I fall on. Reading reader reviews is going to make the next two weeks go by so slow but I have been enjoying it so far and cannot wait to offer my own when it finally does come out near me.

  • 23 11-07-2010 at 3:18 pm

    Scott W. said...

    Not bad, but an easily forgettable film.

    Same with Black Swan.

  • 24 11-07-2010 at 5:28 pm

    Rashad said...

    Didn’t think it was good. Terrible camerawork, hyperactive editing, mediocre script, and trite hallucinations. Did I mention the terrible score, and juvenile attempt at irony by playing ‘Lovely Day’ while he tries to free himself?

    If this wasn’t Danny Boyle would people really be so enamored by it? I mean there’s a shot of urine gushing through a straw! Laughable.

  • 25 11-27-2010 at 12:31 am

    Michael said...

    After FINALLY seeing it, I can’t help but feel the movie fell victim to a combination of hype and lowered expectations. I felt like two sides of my brain were running at the same time when I sat down to watch the film – one side was telling me that this was a Danny Boyle film that has 92% on rotten tomatoes and all these valentines from critics, and the other side was tuning into the more muted (or negative) reactions such as Guy’s and others where I was expecting to be disappointed. It was hard to tell which hat I should be wearing while watching the film, but in the end I have to say that I kinda enjoyed it but was not at all blown away.

    The film felt overworked to me, for such a simple story. I think more restraint would have gone a long way in isolating the audience to Aaron’s plight and severity of the situation. The film was “too alive” and all of the hyperactive camera work, flashbacks, and hallucinations kept taking me out of the film to the point where the whole thing felt really artificial. I never really empathized with Aaron b/c Boyle made him such a one dimensional character and turned the film into a showcase of his flashy camera work and split screen editing skills. Even though Franco was given the short end of the stick in terms of having a lot to work with, he some how brought a lot of depth to the character that was otherwise pretty one-note. As Guy has mentioned with a lot of films this year, I think that 127 Hours had an overly aggressive musical score that distracted from the film. And the Dido song wasn’t so much bad as it was completely unneeded.

    And all the hype about how unpleasant the actual self-dismemberment scene was and about how many people fainted from it really got blown out of proportion. Not all film goers choose to watch as many dark and disturbing films as myself, but I couldn’t help but think that after the scene was over: That was it!?! Try watching A Serbian Film or Kinatay if you are after something extremely disturbing.

    It was definitely an improvement over Slumdog Millionaire, and that in itself to me is worth commending. In terms of Oscar prospects, beyond the technical achievements and performance by James Franco, I really don’t think there should be much of a discussion in terms of Best Picture, Director, or Screenplay (although I know that it will end up with at least a Best Picture nomination b/c there are ten slots to fill and it is amiable enough to steal one of the slots.) I don’t think I will remember much about this film (or have any desire to revisit it) in the years to come.