127 Hours—Fox Searchlight

Video: 3.5/5
Audio: 4/5
Extras: 3.5/5

"127 Hours" is the true story of mountain climber Aron Ralston's remarkable adventure to save himself after a fallen boulder crashes on his arm and traps him in an isolated canyon in Utah. Over the next five days Ralston examines his life and survives the elements to finally discover he has the courage and wherewithal to extricate himself by any means necessary, scale a 65 foot wall and hike over 8 miles before he is finally rescued. Throughout his journey, Ralston recalls friends, lovers, family and the two hikers he met before the accident. Will they be the last two people he ever had the chance to meet? A visceral thrilling story that will take an audience on a never before experienced journey and prove what we can when we choose life.

Danny Boyle is known for his non-traditional ways of capturing film and this is no exception. Most of the movie is captured using consumer grade cameras or digital HD cameras so there is no real film-like look at all. The HD footage looks great though and the Utah backdrop is gorgeous. Fine detail in these sequences is superb as is depth and dimension. The consumer grade stuff falls well short, but this is to be expected. The DTS-HD Master Audio mix is also quite good, but this isn’t what I would all an intense audio experience. Boyle always picks some great tunes and this is no exception as the musical selections guide the viewer through the changing emotional landscape of the trapped climber. Dialogue is balanced well within the mix and the sound design plays nicely with interesting pans and discrete cues throughout the soundstage.

This 2-disc set includes a digital copy of the film for your portable device. I guess this would come in handy if I had my iPhone on me and got stuck on a climbing trip. If I started getting a bit worried I could always watch this film and realize my situation may be worse (or at least I would have some ideas as to how to get out alive!). Extras include a look at the production with interviews and behind the scenes footage. You also get insight into the real rescue of Aron.

This is pretty unsettling human drama but also a story of survival in the worst circumstances. Franco delivers his best performance to date and once again Boyle delivers a film that will not be easily forgotten. Recommended.