I don’t often get a chance to review films, books or music I dislike. This is because life is short and I don’t have the time to actively seek out media that isn’t going to be entertaining. Occasionally though I’m misled and something I’ve led to believe was brilliant is in fact anything but. This is the case with Best Picture nominated 127 hours by Danny Boyle.
To be fair I was a little apprehensive about this film before it started. I struggle to imagine anyone watching this without knowing that it’s going to be about a climber who after being trapped by a boulder for 127 hours cuts off his arm. If you didn’t know this then you’ve just had it spoiled for you. But don’t worry – I’m saving you from watching it anyway.
The complete knowledge of storyline beforehand means the movie struggles to generate either pace or tension. Before he gets trapped we’re waiting for him to get trapped. After he gets trapped we’re just waiting for his arm to have to be chopped off. In between there’s obnoxiously loud music and the camera man gets bored. Given the complete lack of tension during the entire second act (Is he going to escape.. no.) the camera attempts to inject some excitement into proceedings. Split frames, speed up/slow down, go up a water spout with the water.. As Aron gets gradually more dehydrated we also get some tedious dream sequences and a reality isn’t what it seems section. I know I said in my Black Swan review that I didn’t mind these, but then it worked since we didn’t know it wasn’t reality and the sequence still had an emotional impact. Here neither of these points were true, and the sequence duly failed.
127 hours is a boring, tedious film utterly lacking in tension or interest. I’m perplexed as to why it’s being so widely acclaimed although don’t believe it will do particularly well at the Academy Awards.