We know these things because Aron Ralston says so. He's the guy who really spent 127 hours stuck in one place with the near certainty of his death.
Movies have a tendency to get bigger and crazier and louder. But life isn't like that. Life is really simple; it's about showing up and being a good person. That's what being wedged in by rocks reminds you. Aron wouldn't change that experience for anything. It's like the lightning flash of insight that Michael J. Fox got when he left the neurologists office in New York all those years ago after being diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. It wasn't the premieres and free parties that mattered; it was his wife and kid. We forget that.
The story of 127 HOURS is no mystery. He cuts off his arm in order to survive. I gave away the ending. But endings are always certain. You're gonna die and I'm gonna die, I'm certain of that, but it's not the ending that matters-- it's all the pain and joy in between.
And Danny Boyle's latest movie is full of pain. When bones break and arms are sliced into; you feel it. Richard Pryke and Ian Tapp didn't win Academy Awards for sound re-recording mixing for nothing. They made SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE sound real, and they did it again in this one. When Aron slices up his arm, you feel it in your body. The people sitting near you come alive -- whether they throw their arms in front of their faces or whether they lean further towards the screen; everyone reacts. It's gruesome. But it's real. This is pain and you have to keep watching because only by being present for pain do we see the true beauty of pleasure.
There's a moment about half way through when Aron is talking into his camera that will break your heart. Because he talks about wishing he'd called his Mother back and he talks about what a selfish ass he is and you realise he's talking about you too. The difference is that you can be a better person without chopping your arm off.
I don't know how 127 HOURS will feel on a second viewing and I don't know how it will feel on a DVD, so I hope you go to the cinema to see it. THE KING'S SPEECH is a solid movie and THE SOCIAL NETWORK is super slick, but 127 HOURS reminds us of the truly unparalleled simplicity and genius of the cinema.