Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB
USA/United Kingdom, 2010. Pathé, Everest Entertainment, Cloud Eight Films, Decibel Films, Darlow Smithson Productions, Dune Entertainment, Big Screen Productions, Film4. Screenplay by Danny Boyle, Simon Beaufoy, based on the book Between a Rock and A Hard Place by Aron Ralston. Cinematography by Enrique Chediak, Anthony Dod Mantle. Produced by Danny Boyle, Christian Colson, Michael Maker, John Smithson. Music by A.R. Rahman. Production Design by Suttirat Anne Larlarb. Costume Design by Suttirat Anne Larlarb. Film Editing by Jon Harris.
This unforgettable film by Danny Boyle gives flesh and blood to a memorable news headline from 2003, when Aron Ralston was rescued after being trapped under a rock for five days; the reason why it was news is because Ralston spent the entire time of his ordeal with his arm pinned beneath an unmovable stone, and eventually cut it off in order to save himself. James Franco is terrific as Ralston, bounding about the Utah rock formations he calls his second home before a split-second mishap plummets him down a ravine and into days of living hell, in which his physical deterioration comes along with a mental recap of his life’s best and worst moments.
Boyle really kicks the photography and editing into high gear in order to make the experience as cinematic as possible, then devastates the audience with a graphic detailing of the act that gave this story its newsworthy significance; make no mistake about it, the film is not appropriate for squeamish viewers, and anyone who thinks they can handle gore in trashy horror movies has no idea what they’re in for here. For anyone who can manage to endure this spectacular ordeal, however, the film is an engrossing, spiritually elevating experience that celebrates one person’s desire to reach for a second chance at life. Much of the deep feeling the film engenders is thanks to Boyle’s unwavering devotion to character despite his obsession with technical innovation, the rest is taken care of by the charismatic star.
Academy Award Nominations: Best Picture; Best Actor (James Franco); Best Adapted Screenplay; Best Film Editing; Best Original Score; Best Original Song (“If I Rise”)
Golden Globe Award Nominations: Best Actor-Drama (James Franco); Best Screenplay; Best Original Score
Screen Actors Guild Award Nomination: Best Actor (James Franco)
Toronto International Film Festival: 2010