Three Oscar nominations pushed the studio to finally go wide release with 127 Hours.
Oscar telecast host James Franco is tabbed for best actor (how awkward is that?) and the film for best-adapted screenplay and best picture.
What’s missing is a nod for Achievement in Cinematography. The film is gorgeous, and those not appreciating Aron Ralston’s true story and dilemma will be blown away by director Danny Boyle’s vision and the incredible the scenery.
Ralston found 15-minutes of fame and got national attention after a climbing accident trapped him in a narrow canyon near Moab, Utah. He spent five and a half days without food or water, and had to cut off part of his arm to save his life.
Telling the story of someone stuck in one place for that amount of time has three challenges. It’s pretty much a solo acting effort and the action is limited. Franco ( Pineapple Express) has that covered. He is very likable has been flirting with greatness for the last decade. This is mostly a monologue, and he’s brilliant. It is the performance that finally puts him on Hollywood’s A-list.
Boyle and his award-winning Slumdog Millionaire co-writer Simon Beaufoy overcome the second problem with pacing and the mixing flashbacks with present time.
The last piece drives 127 Hours. Lying quietly underneath every scene; darting in and around all that beauty, slowly building in tension as the time ticks down is Ralston’s heroic act; that bloody, painful amputation without anesthetic.
And the mega-talented Boyle manages to humanely -- and with as much taste and compassion as possible -- get you and his character through the horror of one of the ickiest non-chop-and-slash horror movie scenes of all time.
Don’t miss this one. It is truly one of last year’s best.
Mr. Movie rating: 5 stars
Rated R for mature themes, language. It opens Friday, Jan. 28 at the Carmike 12 and at the Fairchild Cinemas 12.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.