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Thursday, February 10, 2011

"127 Hours" is the Stupendous Sh**! [Movie Review]

“127 Hours” is the stupendous sh**! Yes, that’s a very unorthodox phrase to describe Danny Boyle’s latest film achievement but it is, in my opinion, the most accurate words to describe this awesome film.  When I say “sh**,” I meant it in its most superlative form.  Danny Boyle has elevated MTV style directing to an art form.  He has become a master of speed that he may just be this generation’s representative filmmaker.  He does not dumb down his films but he does not drown it either with lofty intellectualism.  In short, Boyle respects the intelligence of his young moviegoers but at the same time knows what give them their adrenaline rush.  He’s never stingy on that matter.  “127 Hours” is like a wild bike ride on uncharted wilderness, fast when necessary, unpredictable but not scary, exhilarating, raw and appropriately emotional.  The film is profound as it is spine-tingling.  It is a cut above the rest of run-of-the-mill forgettable Hollywood action adventure movies that is supposed to cater to the MTV-Internet generation.   

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If Danny Boyle takes the part of the invisible hands of the god director, James Franco is the film’s coolest, bravest and most humanist superhero. Franco single handedly made this movie rocks, pun intended.  His acting is raw and real, unpretentious and engaging. Watching Franco’s every scene will make you feel like you are right there with him, trapped in the lonely crevice.  He does not rely on lengthy monologues but instead delivers his emotional punches with body and hand movements, facial expressions, intelligible screams and with appropriately timed witty remarks.  Boyle was smart enough to keep the camera still at the right moments to let Franco shine.  It also does not hurt that James Franco is charismatic to begin with. 

Of course, the storyline of “127 Hours” is a tad bit cliché, albeit based on a true story. It is a story of spiritual redemption of an independent spirit who feels he is too invincible and thus cannot be bothered by human affections and profound relationships. But as Danny Boyle has proven in “Slumdog Millionaire,” and my favorite “Trainspotting,” the story may border on the cliché but the storytelling definitely is not, and that is where the power of Boyle’s film lies. 

“127 Hours” is not for the squeamish though.  Some scenes will simply make you cringe on your seat. I almost covered my face in one of the film’s most bloody scenes but I am proud to say that I kept my eyes open all throughout the movie.  Unfortunately though, this film made me light a cigarette after 55 days of not smoking (or 1,320 hours). Hey, the film was so good that I felt like I just survived an ordeal with James Franco and so a lighted cigarette was in order.  Bottom line, watch “127 Hours”, it is the stupendous sh**t! 

I don’t entirely recommend this film as a pre-Valentine Day date movie because it may become embarrassing if the man will be the first one to cringe on his seat and cover his face rather than the woman. No matter how liberated women have become, I don’t think they will be turned on seeing their dates with their faces covered.  Guys, if you will bring your girl to watch this film, just think you’re James Franco, and start from there. The key is confidence.  I think “127 Hours” is best viewed with good friends. Bring the whole gang.

On a related note, I also watched Richard Gutierrez’ “My Valentine Girls” and it also made me cringe but for all the wrong reasons. In the middle of “My Valentines Girls,” I was praying that Richard Gutierrez fall into a deep crevice and stay there. Luckily, Filipinos have other better films that we can be proud of.

"127 Hours" is based on the autobiographical book by Aron Ralston.

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