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Forum namePass The Popcorn
Topic subject127 Hours (Boyle, 2010)
Topic URLhttp://board.okayplayer.com/okp.php?az=show_topic&forum=6&topic_id=539714
539714, 127 Hours (Boyle, 2010)
Posted by ZooTown74, Fri Oct-22-10 12:47 AM
I really liked this, the story of a man who falls into a canyon and has his arm pinned by a rock

Which sounds boring as shit on paper, but isn't here, thanks to Danny Boyle's kinetic direction (Praize Whyte Direktorz!) and a fine, Oscar-caliber performance by Franco (we just usin' his last name now)

And the key word is kinetic: Boyle keeps things moving, giving even the riskier moments, such as when Aron Ralston imagines certain events in his life, a lot of energy. Sometimes they were effective, sometimes they weren't, but I never was bored.

And of course everyone will be talking about The Scene... won't spoil it here or cyse it up too much, but it was quite intense... Danny Boyle told a story about how the film was test screened in New Jersey, and when the big scene happened, the audience erupted in cheers... a jaded, L.A. audience? Not so much, just a lot of gasping and looking away by the females...

Not sure if it's going to hit on the Slumdog Millionaire, multiple-Oscar-winning level but Danny Boyle and producer Christian Colson's comments in the Q & A led me to believe that that wasn't their aim, they just wanted to take on the challenge of giving energy to a story about a man who can't move. Nicely done.



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539884, The quest to make '127 Hours' (long swipe) (SPOILERS)
Posted by ZooTown74, Sat Oct-23-10 11:32 PM
Posted just so there is no anger, confusion, ignorance, and/or trolling about "accuracy" and "facts" in this film... it's called fact-based storytelling for a reason...


>For Danny Boyle and company, much more than '127 Hours' of toil

The intense drama, focused entirely on trapped hiker Aron Ralston's will to escape, required supreme ingenuity and physical hardiness from the director, his crew and actor James Franco.

By John Horn, Los Angeles Times

October 24, 2010

Reporting from Blue John Canyon, Utah — —

Danny Boyle could barely be heard over the low-flying helicopter. "It's like 'Apocalypse Now,'" he yelled as he fastened his helmet and tightened a climbing harness around his waist, preparing to descend into a narrow canyon.

The British director had brought his moviemaking team to this remote locale just outside Canyonlands National Park to film several key scenes in "127 Hours," Boyle's first feature since 2008's " Slumdog Millionaire." Every supply — sleeping bags, tents, toilets, cameras, makeup, forks, beef jerky — had to be flown in, and the latest delivery had just noisily arrived.

Yet as soon as the chopper lifted off again that April day, a stillness settled over the Utah landscape — the same haunting quiet that surrounded hiker Aron Ralston after he was pinned by a falling chockstone here in 2003, famously forcing him to amputate his right forearm to escape.

Boyle climbed down a series of ladders to the precise spot of Ralston's solitary, five-day ordeal of dehydration, starvation, hypothermia and sleep deprivation. The actual rock that trapped the hiker was removed years ago so that Ralston's hand could be recovered and cremated; in its place was an artificial boulder, splattered with fake blood added for the scene.

In the sequence being filmed, Ralston (played by James Franco) had just severed his forearm with a dull multi-tool. In the next shot, he was to stagger out of the tight coulee, only to be faced with another unthinkable task: to rappel about 70 feet down a sheer cliff, using one hand. Cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle, tethered by a rope to a large shrub, leaned over the gorge from an opposing precipice to shoot Franco's walk from the dark slot to the sunny rappel spot — "into God's light," as Boyle described it.

"His last, worst fear is that he'll lose control of it," Boyle instructed a gaunt Franco, who had lost 25 pounds for the role. "And he's got to be careful that he doesn't pass out from the blood loss."

A middle-of-nowhere location, precarious camerawork and physical strains were hardly the only challenges Boyle's team faced in filming "127 Hours," a Fox Searchlight release arriving in theaters Nov. 5. They also dodged scorpions and weathered a freak late-season snowstorm that delayed production.

Yet those were all trivial tribulations compared to what Boyle, screenwriter Simon Beaufoy and producer Christian Colson had to wrestle with even before the "127 Hours" cameras rolled: first, sell a reluctant Ralston on any number of dramatic liberties; second, craft a compelling narrative in which the hero has no one to talk to and can't move; and third, figure out how to depict a grisly procedure that wouldn't make moviegoers pass out or run for the exits.

Even if Boyle succeeded on all those fronts, the "127 Hours" director admitted, "This will be a difficult movie to sell."

Eclectic choices

Boyle's filmography is extraordinarily varied: the zombie thriller "28 Days Later," the sci-fi story "Sunshine," the children's fantasy "Millions," the dystopian drama "The Beach," the crime movie "Shallow Grave," and the hallucinatory "Trainspotting." The 54-year-old has tackled every genre, it seems, outside of musicals and biography.

Six years ago, he tried to adapt "3000 Degrees: The True Story of a Deadly Fire and the Men Who Fought It," a book about six firefighters who died in a 1999 Massachusetts blaze. But he and Universal Pictures canceled production at the last minute when some survivors objected.

"I remember thinking after '3000 Degrees' that I'll never do another real-life story," Boyle said. "It's just too complicated. You don't have control over the material."

After turning "Slumdog Millionaire" into an art-house chartbuster and Academy Awards champion, Boyle contemplated directing the next James Bond film or remaking "My Fair Lady." But he kept thinking about Ralston's near-death experience, previously having given the hiker's 2004 book, "Between a Rock and a Hard Place," to Colson.

"I read it and said, 'There's no way you can do this,'" the producer said. "It's one bloke with his arm stuck. How could you make that dramatic?"

Boyle had an answer, albeit a strange one, and gave Colson his outline for the film. Rather than focus as much on the mounting rescue effort as on Ralston's predicament, as some filmmakers might, Boyle said his cameras would never leave the hiker. That way, spectators in a multiplex could be transported to the canyon.

"I wanted it to be a subjective experience for the audience," Boyle said. "My feeling is that we're all capable of what Aron did. So if it's subjective, you won't avert your eyes. You'll say, 'Go on, do it!'"

But Ralston wasn't initially buying Boyle's vision.

Smitten with the Andean survival movie "Touching the Void," a 2003 feature combining interviews with the real climbers and reenactments by actors, Ralston thought the same fact/fiction mash-up would best serve his story. He joined forces in 2004 with "Touching the Void" producer John Smithson and filmmaker Alex Gibney, the documentarian behind the Oscar-winning "Taxi to the Dark Side." But their movie went nowhere for two years.

"We had a vision, and still we couldn't get financing," Ralston said. "So we had to challenge that initial assumption that I was the best person to tell the story."

Ralston met Boyle in 2006, before the making of "Slumdog Millionaire," and the director told him how he would tell his tale. "He wanted to work within that very challenging framework. It's a tight space. There's one guy. And he's not moving for two-thirds of the movie," Ralston said.

What's more, Boyle told Ralston, he needed to dramatize Ralston's state of mind, embellishing small details — such as Ralston's fleeting mention in his book of a girlfriend — into larger narrative passages with emotion. "If you want me to do it," Boyle told Ralston, "you have to lend us your story."

In other words, the filmmakers would make sure the climbing gear was right, and would resist the studio's suggestions for product placements like candy bars, but they would have to make stuff up. "You have to sacrifice the small truths," Colson said, "to honor the larger one."

Ralston still wasn't convinced. "I thought accuracy was the channel to inspiration — that it had to be absolutely the truth to touch people and inspire audiences," said Ralston, who has been a popular motivational speaker. "And then I started realizing that's not the only avenue to get to that goal." After "Slulmdog Millionaire" swept the Oscars in early 2009, he was willing to let "127 Hours" proceed.

So with screenwriter Beaufoy, Boyle sketched out a story that attempted to answer the big questions of how the experience transformed Ralston, while including moments that Ralston never discussed or actually didn't happen: In one scene, the trapped hiker masturbates. "Come on, he must have tried to," Boyle said, though Ralston has remained silent on the issue.

Ralston had quit an engineering job at Intel in 2002 to dedicate himself to mountain climbing. Before the accident, he said, he was "more hedonistic, more narcissistic and more concerned with ego-fulfillment." But Boyle needed to capture that evolution in the compressed time span of a 90-minute movie. So, for example, his script employs the girlfriend character of Rana (Clιmence Poιsy) to dramatize Ralston's selfishness and remind the hiker of what he had left behind.

In reality, the 34-year-old said, it was his family, not a former flame, that filled his thoughts during his ordeal. "Basically, they needed more girls in the movie," Ralston said.

Visual feats

Because the narrow confines of Blue John Canyon made it impossible to film the entire movie there, production designer Anne Suttirat Lalarb built a precise replica of the crevasse in a Salt Lake City warehouse. On that set in late March, before the team headed to Blue John Canyon, Franco was taking the first step in Ralston's backcountry surgery.

With a prosthetic arm in place of his own, Franco folded out a knife from the multi-tool and plunged it into his (fake) flesh, the blade stopping when it hit (fake) bone. Syrupy imitation blood — thick, like Ralston's would have been due to dehydration — oozed from the wound. Looking exhausted, the actor took a swig of the only drink the hiker had left: his own urine (fake), stored in a CamelBak hydration pouch.

"Oh that's it, James, brilliant," Boyle said after Franco finished gagging. "If you can get in that position again, you can see it moving through the tube into your mouth."

Boyle knew that a movie focused almost exclusively on one stuck man, even with some flashbacks and an encounter with two female hikers before the fateful moment of entrapment, could quickly turn tedious. So he used an array of visual flourishes to keep the story moving — like putting a lens in the CamelBak so that the audience would see the urine traveling toward Ralston's mouth. He also takes the viewer into Ralston's arm, to witness knife hitting bone.

Boyle also took the highly unusual step of employing two cinematographers: "Slumdog Millionaire's" Dod Mantle and Enrique Chediak, who shot "28 Weeks Later." While Dod Mantle was setting up one shot, Chediak was filming another — giving Franco little time to rest.

"It's partly about harnessing Danny's energy. He doesn't like sitting around," Colson said.

While Ralston was trapped, he recorded himself on video, including moments where, convinced of his impending death, he made an impromptu will and offered instructions about where his ashes should be scattered. While Ralston hasn't shown the videos publicly — "I promised my mom not to," he said — he shared them with Franco and the "127 Hours" team.

"They feel like the scariest home movies you've ever seen. For an actor, it's just gold," Franco said. "It's not Aron retelling the story in one of his speeches. It's a guy who thinks he is going to die but not wallowing in self-pity."

Ultimately, Boyle believed, Ralston would have an epiphany in the canyon, and it wouldn't simply be how to break his arm bones so he could cut off his hand. Ralston would lose a limb, but the experience would make him whole.

Two things would compel his escape: the hallucinatory image of his not-yet-conceived son (which is mentioned in Ralston's book) and the nearly magnetic draw of humanity, a yearning to rejoin everyone else both literally and metaphorically (which isn't).

"For me, what the film is really about is the pull of the crowd," Boyle said. "It's an incredibly powerful thing."



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541357, the scene
Posted by Bruce Belafonte, Sat Nov-06-10 11:26 PM
is this referring to dude cutting off his arm with a pocket knife or some shit?
541362, My bad zoo for the other post
Posted by las raises, Sat Nov-06-10 11:34 PM
I might go tomorrow to check this out
542048, An outstanding film.
Posted by Frank Longo, Fri Nov-12-10 07:03 PM
I don't even know what to say about it yet. I experienced the full gamut of emotions in those last thirty minutes or so. It succeeds in being life-affirming without resorting to Hollywood bullshit manipulation-- a very rare feat. I'm literally speechless. Unbelievable movie.
542855, Co sign all of that
Posted by las raises, Fri Nov-19-10 09:58 AM
I walked out just amazed at the entire thing
542346, Ever since Pineapple Express, Franco continues to impress.
Posted by jigga, Mon Nov-15-10 05:03 PM
Couldn't stand him when he was tag teamin w/ Kirsten Dunce to ruin the Spidey movies but he's found his niche lately.

I was a little worried about sittin in the front row for this show after hearin people were faintin, pukin, & seizurin but neither me nor the lady had a problem other than a few squirms in the seats. The real treat was meetin Danny Boyle & tellin him how much I've appreciated his work over the years. We had a good laugh about the Sunshine ending on all the haters behalf.

Great flick tho. Not necessarily one I'd want to see again but I'm glad I caught this when I did. Certainly ran through a gambit of emotions while watching it & immediately felt the need to spend more time with my family afterwards.
543744, curious as to what was said about sunshine haha
Posted by crow, Sun Nov-28-10 03:57 PM
542361, Saw this dude on television a while back.
Posted by drmindriot, Mon Nov-15-10 06:06 PM
Funny thing he comes across my mind once in a while for whatever strange reason. I'm going to check this out.
542782, This is on my must-watch asap list
Posted by LA2Philly, Thu Nov-18-10 05:54 PM
543029, Absolutely superb
Posted by LA2Philly, Sat Nov-20-10 07:33 PM
The style, the pacing, the script, the music, the cinematography, the acting, the atmosphere...it all combines to create a breathtakingly good introspection into the character and events.

I can't say enough about Franco or the direction. It's hard to put into words the amount of emotion this left me with but I was completely speechless as I left the theater. Outstanding.
543046, spectacular
Posted by benny, Sat Nov-20-10 11:55 PM
Danny Boyle's directing is often a little too pop-culturey and self-aware for my tastes, but things just click in this one, helped in large part to J. Franco's balls-out performance. Pacing was great, there was really no need to know more about the backstory or the aftermath. A strong contender for picture of the year for sure (I'm still partial to Black Swan at this point, but there's still mucho Oscar-baiting to go before the year is done)
543103, LOVED it. Franco better get an Oscar nomination. (spoilers)
Posted by hateur, Sun Nov-21-10 07:25 PM
He was great.

What amazed me was I jumped at all these false starts (first time he tried to cut it, those loud moments right before he starts cutting (did he rebreak his arm?), but when it's actually happening I was so stunned I didn't feel anything.

I've never had that happened before.

What's weird is I read a review that said you don't see him cutting so for some reason I believed it but you definitely do.

All that red was certainly a sight.
543295, am i the only person that hated the bookends of the movie?
Posted by quakka1, Tue Nov-23-10 04:19 AM
all the footage of traffic and crowds with techno blasting throughout seemed... obvious.

franco was absolutely brilliant in it. glad i saw it, probably won't see it again (which doesn't necessarily mean it was bad).
543444, Decent...
Posted by avillago, Wed Nov-24-10 04:19 PM
an average & semi-entertaining flick, but with great acting from Franco.

And I agree about all the frantic quick edit images with the techno music...ugh!

Lastly, I do see this year's best actor Oscars going to the yung buks Franco & Portman (in Black Swan).
543454, They were cool with me.
Posted by ricky_BUTLER, Wed Nov-24-10 04:40 PM
>all the footage of traffic and crowds with techno blasting
>throughout seemed... obvious.

Obvious? If anything, when they started the movie off, they really surprised. Like, I didn't get how they fit the story at all. The song choice was shit, but when the crowd montages come back in the end it finally dawned on me why they were there in the first place: people need people. Maybe that was an obvious theme to others from the jump, but as we see more and more how Aron's choices on this excursion and throughout his life have left him more and more alone and detached from others (and the danger therein), having him rescued by two sets of complete strangers and then having those montages brought back clicked to me in way (narratively and emotionally) I wasn't expecting.

>franco was absolutely brilliant in it.

Absolutely. I remember scoffing at the casting choice when it was first announced, but he was perfect for it.
543657, it was an obvious juxtaposition to what the rest of the movie was supposed to be
Posted by quakka1, Sat Nov-27-10 09:16 PM
almost preachy.
not to mention the segments were filmed like one of those "you wouldn't steal a car, why would you download a movie?" PSAs that play before movies.
543771, Well, Franco locked up that nom.
Posted by Ryan M, Sun Nov-28-10 10:33 PM
Well done. Dug it.
543790, RE: 127 Hours (Boyle, 2010)
Posted by Slugger_Onions, Mon Nov-29-10 01:40 AM
Yo, spoiler alert fam, but that nigga cut his own arm off on some self-harm, emo i'm sad about life shit dog.
543878, Great film. Amazing performance.
Posted by JungleSouljah, Mon Nov-29-10 02:59 PM
If Franco doesn't get the nod for 127 Hours then there is something seriously wrong. This guy is doing everything right now and sort of killing it all. I think I would put in my top 10 of the year and would expect a best film nod as well, but wouldn't be as devastated as long as Franco got his props.

As a doc who's taken care of my fair share of traumas, I found a lot of the stuff with his arm fascinating. He did an amazing job with what he had available.
544668, wow. amazing. franco has the oscar on lock.
Posted by HighVoltage, Sat Dec-04-10 01:28 AM
544800, A completely unique movie-going experience for me
Posted by okaycomputer, Mon Dec-06-10 10:50 AM
I LOVED 127 Hours.

From the moment "127 Hours" came up on the screen I had a lump in my throat and was on the verge of losing it emotionally throughout. And I did finally break down (to my relief) at the end.

I know that all sounds a bit ridiculous and I'll admit I get emotionally invested in movies rather easily. But I never expected anything like that.

My wife was squeezing my hand during 'the scene' and for first time that I can ever remember, I was squeezing back just as hard.

It wrecked me, it worked for me 100%. Go see it.
545487, still waiting for my local theaters to get the film,
Posted by DJ007, Sat Dec-11-10 07:04 PM
I have a feeling with word of mouth it will get an even wider distribution, I need to see this, because I'm hearing from people who I thought wouldn't like a film like this,loved it...lol
551680, I'd have killed myself, day one.
Posted by CaptNish, Wed Jan-26-11 02:21 PM
That was fucking intense. Great film.
551811, saw a few "In Theaters Everywhere" ads last night
Posted by okaycomputer, Thu Jan-27-11 08:23 AM
does that mean this is finally getting a wide release?

If so I'll have to start campaigning hard to family and friends.

Crossing my fingers for some Franco Oscar buzz.
551839, Franco was great but the music was terrible
Posted by blue23, Thu Jan-27-11 09:44 AM
I understand that it was supposed to be dated to fit that time period and pre-fall Aron was a carefree dude but I thought it set up a really silly/cheesy tone for the film which didn't really work for me.

Good performance by Franco in a difficult role. Overall not the biggest fan of the film.
551846, really?
Posted by okaycomputer, Thu Jan-27-11 10:37 AM
>I understand that it was supposed to be dated to fit that
>time period and pre-fall Aron was a carefree dude but I
>thought it set up a really silly/cheesy tone for the film
>which didn't really work for me.

Are you just talking about the opening credits? That I'd understand.

Otherwise I think the music is one of the highlights of the film.

When Franco said something like "Let's Go!" and then Lovely Day kicked in I was in heaven. I thought that completely worked. It still sticks in my mind when I hear that song.

Also, the final trek out of the desert with the Sigur Ross song playing was perfection. The best music moment in movies this year as far as I'm concerned.

A.R. Rahman's score was my second favorite of the year behind The Social Network's. I think it was responsible for a lot of the film's momentum.