127 Hours

Going in, we already know what we are in for. There are no spoilers for this film: all the publicity clearly states that Aron Ralston has to amputate his lower right arm in order to extricate himself from a crevasse where his arm is pinned by a fallen boulder. This film is based on his book: Between a Rock and a Hard Place.

Director Danny Boyle ("Slumdog Millionaire") takes us to the wonderful wind-eroded rocks of Blue John Canyon near Moab, Utah, where the event took place. We see a blithely arrogant, supremely self-confident Ralston, played perfectly by James Franco ("Pineapple Express" and "Milk"), leave for another solo climbing trek in the wilderness. He fails to tell anyone where he is going, which of course, is the biggest mistake he can make. By the time he is considered missing, no one knows where to search.

We aren't limited to a 94-minute one-man show...thank goodness! Instead we see what a happy-go-lucky fellow he is, e.g., early in his hike he encounters two young women who are lost, and before he gets them back on track, he treats them to a little-known swimming hole. This is a spectacular set piece and we embrace it, knowing all too well what is yet to come. We also see he was always a bit of a pill: we watch a youthful version of him harass his little sister and tax the patience of his parents. In addition, as he begins to hallucinate from lack of food and water, we join him in admiration of all things liquid: Gatorade, beer, ice, and water, water, water.

Even as his strength wanes, Ralston keeps his wry sense of humor; he documents his experience with his little hand-held video camera, so that tends to lighten our experience. Whew!

Our screening audience was subdued but satisfied as we exited the theater.