The world doesn’t stop. It is always moving, always busy. And so is Aron Ralston. He can’t stay still. Always on the go, always active. What, then, if one day he is forced to stay still, not moving at all, in one place? What would he think of? Who would he miss? What would he remember fondly? What would he regret deeply?
This is the remarkable story of mountain climber Aron Ralston’s five day ordeal when his arm was trapped by a fallen boulder in an isolated canyon in Canyonlands National Park, Utah, which had been documented by Ralston in his book ‘Between a Rock and a Hard Place’.
Directed by Danny Boyle and starred by James, the film shows us Ralston as a loner and extremely selfish person. He doesn’t answer his phone or return his mother’s phone calls; he doesn’t even make eye contact with his work colleague, he let the woman he loved go.
As great a climber as Ralston is, his recklessness and arrogance gets him in hot water when he fails to notice that the boulder he uses to cross a section of the canyon is loose. He falls down the gap and his right arm is trapped by the boulder from his elbow down and in his desperation begins to realize that he hasn’t been as good a friend, a lover or a son as he could have been. These moments are sometimes funny (the mock TV talk show interview is fantastic) sometimes sad (the to-video camera ‘goodbyes’), but always a testament to Franco’s skills as an actor.
The final scenes as Ralston finally realizes what he must do in order to survive have caused people in theatres across the world to faint and others to walk out. It is a horrifying scene but intelligently executed.
Whether or not you enjoy the film depends on how much you engage with Ralston’s character and ordeal. But nobody can argue that James Franco doesn’t deserve the merit that his performance is receiving.
You probably won’t watch it again, but you should see it once.