DRAMA; 1hr 34min
STARRING: James Franco, Clemence Poesy
In 2003, 27-year-old adventurer Aron Ralston became international news when he hacked off the lower half of his right arm after being trapped for five days while hiking in Utah. Those are the facts. Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle’s propulsive, graphic, engrossing movie tunnels beneath them with a phenomenally charged Franco as the exuberant Ralston, for whom life is never more about pushing limits than when pushed to his own. Alone in a remote and narrow canyon with little food or water, his arm pinioned beneath a boulder, Ralston experiments with strategies, ekes out his meagre resources and summons the memories of those who love him in a teeth-gnashing refusal to despair.
Franco all but hurls himself into this punishing process, the screenplay of which by Boyle and Simon Beaufoy is based on Ralston’s 2004 book Between a Rock and a Hard Place. Its gruelling physicality is counterbalanced by the visions of Ralston’s disoriented and drifting mind, which frees him as his body cannot. When it finally does come, his act of liberation is an horrific triumph.