127 Hours is a lot like tofu. It's not a universally-loved genre, but it has its admiring audience. Also, those who don't admire it swing the other way - they'd likely despise it.
The film is the cinematic depiction of a real-life account of an ordeal that adventurer Aron Ralston goes through while being trapped in a canyon, and is adapted from his autobiography, Between A Rock And A Hard Place. It shows us Aron Ralston's traumatizing time in the canyon with his right arm trapped between a boulder and a wall of the canyon, and how he finally brings himself out of it.
No fairy tale this. It's the kind of story that revolves around one human being who is subjected to supremely agonizing circumstances, which he overcomes using survival tactics that are equally agonizing. It celebrates the strength of the human spirit over the worst of games that nature and chance can play with mankind.
Well, if you're one of those who love such thrillers, 127 Hours is far from being a letdown. As a movie, it's a taut thriller, cute at times as well, with a protagonist who is as lovable as he is brave. Aron uses his camera to record what he's going through, and this lends the narrative some delightful dry humour about his situation and about his wise insights on his own life. Plus, there are some splendid visuals of canyons to partake of.
Also, if you want to spend time marveling at Danny Boyle's directorial skills, there's plenty out there on display.
However, the flick changes from riveting to plain gross in just one scene, and if you're not up for reality this hard-hitting, it pretty much wipes out all the positive vibes you took from the movie up to that point. Unlike bringing about the heady, invincible feeling you usually get with many inspirational stories, this one leaves you feeling philosophical about how cruel life can be to some people. The question, then, is: what sort of movie experience are you looking for?
There definitely are people who'd laud that scene - the extremely gory climax (that, reportedly, had people fainting in theatres), that contains more attention to detail than you could ever ask for. This being the exact replay of what the real Aron went through to get himself out of the anguish he's in, it is rendered with the bone-crunching, nerve-numbing, tendon-severing pain that our protagonist goes through.
Don't get us wrong: it's an incredible story - one that you cannot be judgemental about, since it actually happened to someone (who's still an adventure enthusiast and delivers motivational speeches, by the way) - and 127 Hours is surely a well-made film. And no, it's not a tragedy.
The problem is, Boyle converts it into something that seems to focus only on the worst of the situation, and that only people with nerves of steel can watch. The result is a flick that will see most of its circulation happen within film club circles. And the Awards, of course.
Performances are immaculate, and the narrative and the cinematography is high on creative quality.
As for Rahman's much-touted work, there's some music, but it's not something that no one else could come up with for a high-tension drama like this one.
In sum, if this is your kind of thing, go watch 127 Hours by all means - and certainly with people who're adrenaline junkies and outdoor adventurers. But if you're not one for survival epics, skip it.