11 June 2012

Holding Out For A Hero


Aron Ralston is not, by my definition, a ‘hero’. I'm sure there are people out there who consider him one, however really- what did he do? He got stuck behind a boulder and then chopped his own arm off to escape... I mean, how exactly does that make you a hero? Of course it shows what we as a species can achieve and could be both massively motivational and inspirational but have you seen Superman Returns? I swear I saw that kryptonian motherfucker throw an island into space with just his bare hands. How can you compare what Ralston did to that? Sure, he probably gets a few extra bonus points for being ‘real’ but so what. I once saw a video on the internet of some knobhead shoving a glass jar up his arse which then cracked and shattered. He then proceeded to pluck the broken shards out of his bleeding shit hole before heading off to hospital with a limp and presumably one of the funniest excuses of all time. To me, that tit with the scarred poo-hoop and Ralston are in the same ball park. They both did something stupid for fun and then had to deal with the gorey consequences. The only difference is that Ralston's Story also makes a bloody good film.

Following his Slumdog Oscar win you would have thought that Danny Boyle would seize the chance to make a film for more than his usual £78 budget. It's therefore interesting to see that what he actually made was 127 Hours. The story couldn't be superficially smaller if it tried. Although it might deal with large issues such as spirituality and survival it is still one actor alone for 90% of the screen time with a big bolder pinning him in place. It's basically Cast Away if you replaced Tom Hanks with James Franco and Wilson with a giant cunting rock.

The film starts with a series of quick cuts pretty much setting up who Ralston is. He's one of those tits that needs to go to the extremes of the world and probably considers himself an ‘adrenaline junkie’. My average days consists of drinking too much caffeine with my adrenalin pumping only when the Rich tea biscuits run out and I have to switch to Chocolate Hobnobs. Ralston however prefers to ride around in the middle of nowhere, go rock climbing, camping and pretending to be Ethan Hunt. I have no problem with people doing all of those adventure sports but surely I'm not alone in thinking that they're complete idiots? On one of his expeditions Ranulph Fiennes got frostbite in his fingers and so chopped them off in his shed with a Black & Decker power-saw. That is literally the stupidest fucking thing I've ever heard. Usually when people do shit like that it's whilst under the influence and becomes an argument for why drugs should be illegal. The obvious message is if you ever take mushrooms get yourself a few quid in sponsors. At least if you try to fly out the window you'll die as an inspiration to others. Apparently charity is the excuse that makes idiocy acceptable.

Anywho, so Ralston heads out for his latest adventure which is to take place in Blue John Canyon. Apparently this is an area in America famed for being one of the hiding places of the legendary “Hole In The Wall Gang”. I'm not sure what they're famed for actually doing but judging by their name I'm going to assume it was cottaging. What this opening 20 minutes does is allow us to judge Ralston and get to know him a little bit. He is a tit but like Richard in The Beach he's a likeable tit. Of course it does help that he's played by James Franco who was the second best thing about Spiderman after Toby Maguire's screwed up running/angry jizz-face.

Considering this is what the entire film centres around, when he falls, the incident is almost anticlimactic. Even he doesn't seem to notice what's happened allowing the horror of his imprisonment to slowly sink in. It's kind of like watching Titanic and only showing minor concerns about those pesky leaks until the boat has gone under, DiCaprio has died and worst of all Celine Dion starts singing. The other similarity it shares with that film is that everyone knows how it's going to end. 127 Hours is therefore not about what will happen but will we believe it when it does. For the next 70 minutes we're simply subjected to the trapped Ralston as we witness his emotional journey which ends with him deciding to hack off his own arm. I guess it's sort of like a cross between JackAss and Saw but real. Faced with a choice of removing my arm or watching Titanic again I think that like Ralston, I'd have to accept that my wanking days are over.

The title and promotional material for 127 Hours would have you believe that this is a race against time for survival. However it's not really like that as whilst trapped, Ralston looses track with minutes and hours blending into one. I guess it must be a little bit like playing Age of Empires on the computer in that respect. Back in about 1997 I actually experienced something a little similar to Ralston myself. I was about eight years old and needed a dump. There was however one problem... The shit I was trying to pass was significantly bigger than my child sized arse hole and it really fucking hurt. At first you panic and don't know what to do but eventually you rationalise and deal with the situation. As Ralston begins to use a knife to chip away at the rock, I started to cry and called for my Mum who talked me through it like a fecal-midwife. The irony is that some of the expressions Franco pulls in the amputation scenes are near identical to those that I pulled as my giant turd began to breach.

Before he does hack of his arm, Ralston attempts various ways of removing the boulder. One of the purposes of the film is to apparently show us what we would all do in his situation. I think I know what I'd do though and removing a limb would not be how it ends for me. At one point he throws a rope out of the chasm, ties it around the boulder and tries to hoist it off. As soon as that failed I think I'd just give up, turn the pulley into a noose and asphyxi-wank myself to death. Given a choice I'm naturally a righty but seems as that hand is the one that's trapped well I guess we all have to make sacrifices.

In order to get into his mindset we are treated to various flashbacks, hallucinations and dreams. He also at one point drinks his own piss which is I'm sure something we've all been curious about but never had a proper excuse to do. Rather than having a straight up narration Ralston starts expressing his thoughts by talking to a camera. Effectively he makes a number of video blogs like he's auditioning for some shitty Big Brother reality show. To be fair he doesn't do anything that those cuntestants wouldn't do either. I think the moment people start shoving wine bottles up their fat, clammy vaginas they'll do anything as long as it's being recorded.

By the time he decides that his arm has got to go, Boyle and Franco have done their job. Although I don't think I could do what Ralston did I believe that the depiction of him on screen could. The scene isn't quite as disturbing as the pre-release hype would have you think but it's still pretty full on. The worst part about the scene is the point where he has to cut through a nerve. The last time I hit a nerve like that was when I accidentally called my mate a beaver forgetting he was sensitive about his teeth. The jokes on him though as I think his teeth are fine, I meant he was being a cunt. Eventually Ralston frees himself, takes a photo of his arm and walks off to freedom. I'm not sure why he took a photo but I'm hoping it was for the most fucking up facebook profile picture ever. Nor do I know what happened to his arm after he left. He's famous now so I'm assuming someone will have found it and stuck it on eBay. If he signed it, he could auction it off for charity to a lonely woman or some obese gays whose fingers can't quite reach their own arse hole.

Danny Boyle is one of my favourite directors and this easily shows off his abilities. The editing matches Ralston's mentality, fast and jumpy when he's exploring, slow and disorientating when he's trapped. It's got a cool soundtrack, a knobhead main character and an optimistic ending. It's basically your typical Boyle movie which is fine by me. Like “Perfect Day” in Trainspotting, this also includes an ironic use of the song “Lovely Day” by Bill Withers. My idea of a perfect day is finding a big bag of marijuana, opening a packet of quavers and then wanking myself to sleep. Chopping myself up does not feature in that for me.

For anyone who hasn't seen the film I can't recommend it strongly enough. Since escaping his situation the real Aron Ralston has gone on to make millions of dollars with books and public appearances. If there is a message to this movie then it's one of two things. Either that humans are a remarkable species who can adapt to survive any situation given the right amount of motivation. Or that self-harming to the extreme will make you rich and famous. I'm not recommending you start cutting on your arms to become well-known but if you died you'd probably get your name in the newspaper. If that sounds tempting then go for it- prove Darwin right, motherfucker!

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