Thursday, 6 January 2011

864 Hours Later We're Back At The Pictures

Due to the incapacity caused by my new hip we've been unable to get to the cinema for well over a month which is the longest period I can remember for many a long year. It seems like last year when we went to see George Clooney in The American (ok it was last year) but yesterday I felt that the leg was up to it and we went to the wonderful FACT in Liverpool to see 127 Hours.

Now I've got nothing against the excellent VUE cinema chain who do a great job here in Southport in showing all the latest blockbusters in comfy surroundings but you can't really beat the art house cinemas like FACT where you can take in a couple of exhibitions by local artists, have an excellent club sandwich in the cafe (with wireless thrown in if you need it) and take a decent glass of wine into the screen with you if you feel like it. It wouldn't take off in Southport where any obscure movie brings an audience of four (me and Marion and a few more who discovered that they should have booked for Harry Potter)but Liverpool has a big enough catchment area and a huge student population that makes it a success.

Not that yesterday's offering 127 Hours was an art house movie. I like Danny Boyle (especially as he once sampled daughter in law Josephine's cupcakes and deemed them delicious) and I loved the feel good Slumdog Millionaire even if it was predictable and I have to say that, for a film where you knew what was going to happen before you arrived at the cinema, he's done a pretty good job here.

Throughout the film Boyle grabs your attention by splitting the screen into three - a method I seem to recall that he used in Slumdog too - which means that there's so much going on in front of you that you don't get the chance to appreciate that there's really not much going on at all. James Franco plays Aron Ralston as a decent sort of bloke who rather foolishly doesn't tell anybody where he's going for the weekend and decides to go climbing in the beautiful canyons of Utah. He gets trapped in a narrow crevice by a boulder and spends the next five days trying to get out, hallucinating (Occurrence At Owl Creek Bridge style) and filming messages for his family on his Sony video camera (couldn't help feeling that there was some product placement going on here as I had Sony ingrained on my brain when I left). When he feels a bit horny there's fortunately some film on his Sony that he recorded earlier of a couple of girls that he took swimming in a cavern and he can now ogle in slow motion and pause.

By showing Aron's dreams and his conversations with his video camera, Danny Boyle holds our attention until the film climaxes with the severing of the trapped limb. There are reports of mass fainting amongst the audiences when this was screened in America but the Liverpool viewers were made of sterner stuff and, whilst there was noticeable movement amongst the customers during the gory (both visually and audibly)scenes, we all got through it. It's not going to win any Oscars but as a dramatised documentary on a pretty amazing survival story with a happy ending, it's well worth a viewing.

By the way if anybody can tell me why one of the split screens in the opening was of hundreds of muslim men praying I would appreciate their comments. 

Just in case you are one of the only people on the internet who hasn't seen this week's feel good story about the man with the golden voice, check this out.