Aron Ralston (played by James Franco) is traipsing alone through Utah's Canyonlands National Park, minding his own sweet-natured, loosey-goosey business, when an errant step drops him into a crevasse. That in itself wouldn't be so bad if he hadn't managed to get his right hand stuck between a heavy boulder and the side of the cavern--a cavern that will be his grave, if he doesn't figure out how to get himself out. Danny Boyle's film of this real-life 2003 incident builds up to what we all know is going to happen: Ralston must sever his arm between his elbow and wrist, after a few long, lonely days of avoiding the idea. (Superb casual line delivery by Franco: "So I found this great tourniquet….") Because this is a film by the director of Slumdog Millionaire
, we can expect a barrage of visual high jinks, despite the fact that this story would seem to be a simple tale of a man stuck in the desert. Boyle deploys flashbacks and fantasies to fill up the screen, plus he gets some mileage out of Ralston's video camera--and, of course, this director can't resist juicing the soundtrack with pop tunes, from Sigur Rós to Edith Piaf to Slumdog
composer A.R. Rahman. Maybe Boyle is simply hyperactive, or maybe he's really onto something about what would happen inside the mind of a man left in extremis for an extended period (who wouldn't have a few Boyle-esque hallucinations, under the circumstances?). The cumulative effect is overbearing, but Franco's performance is spirited and endearing--he makes Ralston sufficiently "of life" that you definitely don't want to see this goofball soul be lost. --Robert Horton
Director Danny Boyles action adventure traces the true story of trapped hiker Aron Ralstons fight for survival. Setting out alone and telling no-one where hes going, Ralston James Franco begins a hiking expedition in the mountains of Utah. Young, and with a zest for life, he takes rock-climbing in his stride, fearing nothing, and with a permanent smile on his face. Soon after crossing paths with fellow hikers Kristi Kate Mara and Megan Amber Tamblyn, however, Ralston becomes trapped in a remote canyon when a falling boulder crushes his arm. Over the following days, and with no-one to hear his calls, Ralston undergoes a gruelling fight for survival that tests his spirit to the limits, and ultimately decides whether he lives or dies.