With massive trepidation I willed, steeled myself to see, experience this film. Knowing the remarkable story of mountain climber Aron Ralston I dreaded the scene that the movie revolves around, the sole reason for its existence; without giving a “spoiler” it was gruesome.
Danny Boyle (“Slumdog Millionaire”) creates a visual, fantastic feast for the eyes; he slashes, slices, vivisects the screen with sections of society, scenery, luscious life, vibrant landscape whether stabile or galvanizing motion; the frenetic pulse complements the “hours” Aron is in confinement.
James Franco (finally doffing the James Dean lookalike syndrome) is brilliant as the ebullient, daring Aron; an outdoorsman who gobbles up any roadblock or challenge nature or the wild serves him; the world is not his oyster, it is a mountain to be tamed, owned and ruled.
Fate intervenes and Aron is given the rare opportunity of examining his life; the sensitive flashbacks, which he records are interspersed with humor, honesty, ultimately stripping bare and to the core his self-centeredness, the pain he visited upon those who loved him without reservations or boundaries. It is this pain that is more plausible and tangible than any physical torture he endured ; these unseen wounds, powerfully, irresistibly depicted by Franco; herein lies the essence, the greatness of the film.
Aron Ralston, chose life, and is living it on his terms but with a dimension and vision few are allotted (or even wish for); “courage” appears insignificant when applied to him and the deed he enacted to earn the badge of other- worldly, godlike, bravery. Socrates said “an unexamined life is not worth living”; Aron Ralston should live far into this and the next millennium.