Saturday, November 13, 2010

Viewing Journal: 11/13/2010

442) 127 HOURS
(2010 dir. Danny Boyle) Date Seen: November 13 2010

I don't know if Boyle was the best director to adapt this material. His energetic style almost feels at complete odds with the remote desert locale. I wasn't expecting him to craft it the way Bela Tarr or Herzog would - afterall, he is Danny Boyle, an a.d.d. experimental stylist if there ever was one. He's not gonna make GERRY - but I was still surprised he injected this particular story with his usual kinetic flair. I'm sure his reasoning for this is that he was trying to place the audience inside the mind of the carefree Aron Ralston, but it has a tendency to render parts of 127 HOURS ridiculous, like some adrenalized Nike commercial. Yet a few parts remain exhilirating because of that very thing...No one should deny Boyle his status as a master of image and sound, and I do admire his ambition here, I just wish he had approached this one with a more contemplative spirit. Sort of how Kevin Macdonald treated TOUCHING THE VOID in '04. Especially after coming off a sweeping fairytale like SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE. I thought the film would surely take on a new tone once the protagonist finally became trapped in his infamous predicament, but Boyle just finds new ways to distract from Ralston's dire situation. Gut-wrenchingly tense moments are too often broken up by choppy edits and blaring musical selections. A.R. Rahman's score feels needlessly intrusive at times. Did American filmmakers really learn nothing from the Coen Brothers' use of silence on NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN? Having said that though, I did really love the climactic use of Sigur Rós' beautifully moving "Festival." The one unquestionably great thing about the whole film is James Franco's portrayal of Aron. Great year for him as a character actor, first with HOWL and now this. Even if his performance here is a bit hampered by his director's in-your-face style. I'd say it's one of the best of the year so far - along with Edgar Ramirez in CARLOS and Joaquin Phoenix in I'M STILL HERE.

(2010 dir. Adam Green) 2nd Viewing: November 13 2010


(2009 dir. David Morlet) Date Seen: November 13 2010


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