I think of 127 Hours (2010) as a sort of sequel to Into the Wild (2007), on which I posted in May. They’re both free-spirited true stories of adventure by a single young man alone in the wilderness, and tap into that full potential of meeting nature face to face. 127 Hours did not have as deep a storyline or emotional complexity as Into the Wild and is a much shorter movie — by nearly an hour. But there’s nothing wrong with brevity — 127 Hours packs a punch. It’s great and very entertaining.
Ebert liked this movie even more than I did, giving it his highest rating (SPOILER ALERT — his review gives away too much, I think with the assumption that most people already know what ends up happening):
Is the film watchable? Yes, compulsively. Films like this don’t move quickly or slowly, they seem to take place all in the same moment.
Ebert ends his review with:
He did what he had to do, which doesn’t make him a hero. We could do it, too. Oh, yes, we could.
This makes me reflect on the movie, and really what a great movie about life it is. The difficulties Roger Ebert went through late in life gave him the legitimacy, the right to make the above statement without it ringing hollow — a right that most other critics and Ebert himself at a younger age do not have. What a loss it is to have Ebert gone.
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A note on the director Danny Boyle. The marketing on this movie touts him as the director of Slumdog Millionaire. If you’re one of the people (like me) that thinks Millionaire was highly overrated and just not very good, and if you also thought that his Olympics Opening Ceremony was a big let-down, don’t be discouraged against 127 Hours. First of all, Millionaire and 127 Hours are ‘chasms’ apart (I couldn’t resist). And bear in mind that Boyle put his name on the map with the groundbreaking indie triumph Trainspotting. Point being, he’s a mixed bag, and this movie’s one of his gems.