127 Hours is shit.
That’s my succinct review of it.
Wacky Adventurous Man goes Mountain Climbing in Utah, forgets his phone, falls down a hole and traps his arm. He stands there for 127 hours before cutting his arm off and walking home. That’s it.
Ok, maybe I’m not being fair. There’s an interesting first 15-or-so minutes at the start where he helps out a couple of young women who are also exploring the region. Well, I say interesting, and maybe that’s giving it too much credit, but it did have dialogue, and that was an improvement on what was to come.
An hour-and-a-bit of a man standing still is about as interesting as it sounds. In that time he gives a couple of diary entries where he sees the error of his ways (i.e. take your mobile phone with you, because that is what mobile phones are for) but that’s about all that actually happens to the guy.
So how do they fill the time? Well they do a couple of obvious bait-and-switch attempts where he gets free, but *shucks* he was only dreaming. Then there are a couple of quite frankly half-hearted flashback scenes where we see him sitting in a car with a girl saying I love you and then an0ther one where the same girl leaves him for unexplained reasons. Oh, and he also fantastises about going to a party. Not being at a party; going to a party – i.e. the drive to the party.
Then at the end when he gets free, we get to see what he’s doing now – “Oh look, Wacky Adventurous Man is now Wacky Adventurous Man with a Stump. And he’s also married to that girl we saw in two brief flashbacks. Good for him”.
Actually, one thing I forgot to say was the scene where he cuts his arm off was a bit gruesome, but he sells the pain about as well as Road Warrior Hawk (Hurrah! A reference not everyone will get)
Being serious, there’s enough plot in this film for about 25 minutes. I know it’s a true story but if you want to make a 97 minute film about it, it has to have 97 minutes worth of a plot. Otherwise we may as well make a film about me writing this review. It *could* have been better if they’d taken more time to explore the flashbacks. His relationship with this woman was obviously important to him, so donate more than a minute-and-a-half to it. Or maybe cut out some of the standing around and replace it with more of the scene-setting at the start. Or even some extra stuff added to the end where we see him apologise to his family for not taking his mobile phone with him. Or hell, even have an Arrested Development style scene at the end where Man With a Stump says “And That’s Why You Always Leave a Note”.
Should You See 127 Hours
You may have guessed the answer is a resounding NO. In my review of The King’s Speech, I talked about the ‘Is It Nearly Finished Yet’ test. Well this one failed that test magnificently. I looked at my watch after what seemed like 75 minutes of the film, but was alarmed to see there was almost 75 minutes left. It went so slowly to the point where it almost felt like torture.
And yet it gets 8.2 on the usually reliable imdb. Meaning other people like it. But I’m fairly sure that it’s Emperors New Clothes syndrome. If the Director of exactly the same film was Timmy Mallet instead of Danny Boyle, then people would shit upon it from a great height. Instead people fawn over it. “Danny Boyle makes the otherwise unwatchable, watchable”.
No he doesn’t.