And let's get this out of the way--yes, there's an explicit scene of Aron Ralston (James Franco) cutting his own arm off. It's bloody and intense, but just short of ridiculous.
This is based on the true story of Aron Ralston, outdoors-man and adventurer who got his hand pinned under a rock in a canyon and was trapped for 127 hours before he cut his hand off and walked to rescue. As for the movie, James Franco is impressive in a role that really calls for him to carry pretty much everything. It starts off at a breakneck pace as he's racing through the Utah desert on bike and on foot. He meets a couple of girls, goes swimming with them in an amazing underground lake, and then eventually takes off (after getting an invitation to a party the next night). And then everything stops when he gets trapped.
At this point you'd think the movie would slow down. He literally can't move, so up until the end the rest of the movie is either in his head or down in the canyon where he's trapped. But Danny Boyle seems physically unable to slow down, and has to throw about a million quick cuts, flashbacks, hallucinations, and various camera tricks at the audience. Yeah, it kept it from being boring, at the expense of being frequently annoying. Yes, it's a pretty amazing film, but I was left wondering what it would be like to see a more straightforward film just of a man trapped under a rock and dealing with it, without all the fancy shit. And yeah, that might be boring for 90 minutes, so maybe I'd like to see a 20 minute short of it instead, whatever. I don't know how to end this post.
Running Time: 94 minutes
My Total Minutes: 217,918