127 Hours - (4 1/2 Stars)*
I'm always fascinated by movies that are based on true stories. Some movies truly do capture actual events, while others can only claim vague inspiration for their events (I'm looking at you Open Water). "127 Hours" is probably going to be one of the most factually accurate movies you'll see based on true events, which makes it even more of an emotionally charged movie.
Aron Ralston (James Franco) is a twenty-something engineer who enjoys hiking, climbing and any other outdoor activity you can think of. One weekend he decides to head to Blue John canyon to enjoy the weekend, but does so without telling anyone where he is. After a brief encounter with some other people, Aron goes off on his own and becomes trapped when a boulder he is using to climb down with gives way and pins his arm at the bottom of the canyon.
This movie is effectively a one-man movie. Aron encounters a few people and hallucinates/remembers others, but the focus is entirely on him. James Franco's performance is what makes or breaks this movie, and he does not disappoint. His performance as Aron is definitely deserving of his nomination for an Oscar (if not deserving of a win), and is his best to date. Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, 28 Days Later) also does a fantastic job with directing. If this story didn't have the right actor or director, it could easily have been boring or too sensational.
Most people know how the story ends, but I'll still remain purposely vague on the specific details about the climactic scene towards the end except to say that it is definitely graphic and realistic. That being said, Boyle doesn't film it in a way that is going shock value. It is a part of the story, but not the centerpiece. The real story lies in the emotional struggle of Aron Ralston.
(94 minutes - Rated R for language and some disturbing violent content/bloody images - 2010) (Netflix)
full disclosure: I stole the review subtitle from my wife.