I very much doubt I could have done what Aron Ralston did to survive after getting partially pinned under a massive rock in a canyon. Then again, who knows what anyone is capable of when they are faced with death. Aron cut his own arm off after breaking his bones and cutting the flesh with a free tool he got with a the purchase of a cheap flash light.
The true story of Ralston is brought to the screen by director Danny Boyle. Boyle brings his unique energy and visual style to explore what Ralston went through emotionally and physically.
The movie opens with a gorgeous montage of Ralston biking, hiking and enjoying the beautiful landscapes. He even hooks up with two female hikers and shows them a hidden water source for some leisurely swimming. When they part ways, he eventually finds himself stumbling down in to a crevice, followed by a large rock that ends up jamming his hand between itself and the canyon wall.
He is stuck with nothing but a canteen of water, his video camera, a few ropes and a cheap cutting tool. The worst part is that he told nobody where he was going. Nobody will come looking for him for quite a while. He figures he has about 4 days to live with the rations of water he has. Eventually he starts drifting between his solitary condition and hallucinations of memories of his family and friends.
When the moment comes when he decides to leave his hand behind, it is not an easy scene to sit through. Thinking back it was not as graphic as I thought it was. The sound effects and the blood are the worst of it. The performance of James Franco, who plays Ralston, really carries us to and then through this harrowing moment.
Franco has really been raising his profile since his role in the “Spider-Man” films. This is his his best performance to date. He is so good in this movie. He never plays heroic or sappy, but simply a good guy who wants to survive. It is a performance that better not be forgotten come awards time.