Danny Boyle returns with an electrifying and extraordinary true story of human willpower which re-affirms the fact that survival predominates every other basic or advanced need that even the most advanced form of mammals - human beings could have. In the process, Boyle, yet again returns to material that is heavy on physical pain and mental trauma and like only he can make us see the rainbow amidst the storm, while still retaining his fascination for faces - prevalent right from his "Trainspotting" days.
What could have easily turned out to be like a boring documentary aired on Discovery channel/National Geographic about a guy (Franco) who gets trapped in a canyon beneath a huge boulder for 5 days actually turns out to be a compelling, enthralling and increasingly claustrophobic drama filled with more soul than any other recent Hollywood offering thanks to Boyle's masterful direction, Franco's fearless, irresistible performance and Rahman's awe-inspiring background score.
Boyle very cleverly and successfully uses split screens, wide angled shots, hallucinations and flashbacks to beat boredom and keep us engaged. However the real show stealer is Franco. What a dream comeback for him this is! It is incredible, the way he transforms from that fun-loving, simple minded mountaineer into a frustrated and increasingly paranoid human being when his survival instinct takes over. Just the way he remembers all the little incidents of his life, the related guilt and sorrow - everything seems so natural, reminiscent of our own lives. Truly if this performance is not Oscar-worthy then nothing ever is. Simply sensational stuff!
That apart this movie is definitely not for the faint hearted because it is as gut-wrenching as it is inspirational. Even for those with nerves of steel and the most solid stomachs, sitting through the last twenty minutes without flinching will be a challenge. By the time Franco frees himself from that boulder, not only him but even you are left mentally and emotionally drained, gasping for a drink of water. That is how engaging and influential the film is.
The transcendent imagery and the vast landscapes are brilliantly captured on screen making for compelling viewing.
With its minimal dialogues the score happens to be a very important driving force of the film. Rahman's mastery has truly come to the fore in the scintillating background score. The Mozart has truly lived up to his reputation and has lifted the film to an altogether different level.
127 HOURS is a fine example of masterful storytelling, which apart from many things celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and Life's second chances. Leaves you yearning to watch it again for the first time.
VERDICT - A TRIUMPHANT TRIBUTE TO THE HUMAN SPIRIT!