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Run Down: Danny Boyle’s “127 Hours”

Run Down: Danny Boyle's "127 Hours"

In the opening minutes of 127 Hours, Danny Boyle’s adaptation of the based-on-a-true-story book by Aron Ralston, also known as the guy who cut his own arm off in order to free himself from a boulder, it seems the apparently ADD-afflicted filmmaker has found the perfect set-up for his hectic aesthetic. Set to the hyper-rhythms of Free Blood’s “Never Hear Surf Music Again” (opening lyrics: “Take it if it makes you numb, take it if it makes you cum…”), images of a speed-demon society race along in multi-screen flipbook fashion: athletes pushing to be more than they can be, long shots of cars racing across highways in fast motion. Boyle’s thesis is clear, if simplistic—we’re addicted to our own millennial pace, a global epidemic of adrenaline seeking. But treating Ralston’s story as kin to that of Trainspotting, which memorably realized addiction as a kinetic, first-person freefall, seems disingenuous and forced, a retroactive bit of auteurist form-fitting. Boyle’s visual choices, as always, are all over the map: bicyclists and freeways, okay, but close-ups of dripping water faucets from a variety of angles, split across multiple screens? Confused audience members can be forgiven for thinking the pre-show commercials are still running—it this movie or Mountain Dew commercial? Read Michael Koresky’s review of 127 Hours.

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