Danny Boyle directs this film version of Aron Ralston’s story of cutting his own arm off after he was pinned by a boulder in Utah’s Canyonlands. James Franco plays Ralston as cavalier, confident, and charismatic. Early in the film Ralston meets two college age girls. He immediately offers to guide them as a means of flirtation. However, Ralston leaves the girls in order to continue pursuing his own solo hike. His deep relationship with the canyon can’t be compromised.
Boyle adds dimension and complexity to the story by showing Ralston’s hallucinations and flashbacks of his past. Wide panning shots also show Ralston’s insignificance within the vast western landscape. Nature does not care if he lives or dies.
I’m most interested in placing 127 Hours within the context of Grizzly Man and Into the Wild. 127 Hours is a third entry into the recent films that tell true stories of men journeying alone into nature and attempting to redefine their own identity. The most fascinating aspect of 127 Hours is Ralston’s desire to document his time beneath the boulder via his camera and recordings. What story do Ralston, Timothy Treadwell, and Chris McCandless ultimately end up telling and what do they really want to leave behind?