Danny Boyle : 127 hours, the impossible

Danny Boyle : 127 heures, réaliser l’impossible

We arrive at the last film released to date by our Danny Boyle. Thank you to Squizzz of us have done such a good analysis of his filmography. Soon, you will have the right to an article, devoted entirely to the producer, of the same type as that of Jim Jarmusch.

After the success of Slumdog Millionaire, Danny Boyle does not ensure the blow with a new popular movie, but retains the line of conduct of his filmography, making a new big a gap and not hesitating to take risks. If the final 127 hours, remains in the same fiber humanist than Slumdog Millionaire (and that many of the films of the director), the form, it is the opposite. Danny Boyle chooses this time to achieve the impossible, a behind-closed-doors at the heart of the vastness of the american West, placing the viewer in head-to-head with a single character, stuck to the bottom of a canyon. The challenge inside of Aron Ralston for his survival becomes a challenge film.

 

A narrative complex

127 hours is an adaptation of the book of Aron Ralston in which he tells how he was actually found during a hike in the gorge, trapped by a rock which fell on the arm. Follow 127 hours of survival until he finds the courage to cut off their arm to get free. One of the major challenges of the film is to succeed to bring to the screen a story that takes place essentially in the head of the hero. Very few dialogues, a unique place and cramped, and ultimately very little action, all this involves search for a schema of a narrative different from what usually happens in the cinema.

Boyle will define the major themes and threads which are going to punctuate his film. He speaks from the generic, which lays all the groundwork for what will follow. He places in opposition to Aron, preparing to leave alone, and several images of crowds, to highlight the loneliness and selfishness of the character, character traits, major mentioned in the book. It also precludes a lot of images of the city, showing the will of Aron to flee from civilization, to go to the nature. In addition, installation in split-screen driven by a pop music requires the personality adventurer Aron’s. From the generic, Boyle introduced the digital camera with which the hero films, that supports new sound character alone, and that will be especially one of the narrative elements in the major providing along the way a side realistic to the movie. Finally, the generic highlights two very important elements. First the hands of Aron, that is discovered before his face, thus making the viewer on their importance in the story. Then, the water and beverages in general that will become the vector of a narrative film’s lead, both from a temporal point of view but also emotional.

The first part of the movie is going to have to present more precisely the character of Aron while maintaining a fluidity in the narration. There is of course the scene that do déteindrait not on a string of extreme sport, both through its frame, its mounting, and which comes in support of the next daredevil of Aron. But above all, there is this sequence of jumps in the underground lake, which clearly shows that Aron did not hesitate to exceed the limits and do things that are risky. This sequence is absent from the book was created to synthesize all the flashbacks where Aron tells of his exploits past and allow the reader to understand who he really is. Moreover, this passage can deepen his encounter with the two prom (real this time), which will play an important role thereafter, to support his solitude at the bottom of the canyon. The spectators will feel more involved when Aron repensera to these girls rather than to his loved ones, because they will be more familiar to you. This part ends by the waterfall in the canyon and on the imprisonment of Aron. The title “127 hours” appears as the beginning of a countdown for survival.

The issue narrative in the second part is different. The images help to show what is going on (and attempts to Aron for getting out of…), but do not allow to press on the elements that affect the more Aron, on how he envisages the situation or what is going on in his head. Gold these are the most important elements.

Danny Boyle chose to make a very sensory in his mise en scene so that the viewer can understand the physical difficulties faced by Aron. If in the first part, the water was everywhere, this time he does everything to strengthen the feeling of dryness, in particular, in an image very mineral in terms of grain and colour, but also in sounds pretty dry. The water only appears as a temporal marker to the forfeiture of Aron (his gourd becomes a sort of hourglass), and each of its appearances becomes of paramount importance (maps to the inside of the gourd, pub for drinks, violent thunderstorm that would allow him to get out of his situation, watching the video of the jumps in the underground lake…). To highlight the problems of temperature, Danny Boyle plays a lot on the colors of the image, including hues very cold at night, or, more directly, by displaying a thermometer falling down to the bottom of the image to explain the behavior of Aron who is trying to find a way to warm up. It also takes over a major event of the book, that of the ray of the sun that caressed the foot of the Aron in the mornings, and Boyle connects logically to an event emotionally, and support the bliss caused by this simple radius.

For interfering in the head of Aron, Danny Boyle is going to use different schemes, always avoiding the easy choice of the voice-overs. It operates first of all, the real fact of the video messages made by Aron. They can both give information on its situation that may not describe the images, but also to bring a emotional side to the story when he speaks directly to his loved ones. Boyle uses this material beyond the actual facts in creating other messages than those already existing. This is particularly the case in the amazing sequence where Aron takes the stage in a game show. It demonstrates the complexity of the state of mind in which the character, to the brink of insanity. The staging schizoaffective Boyle (he creates two Aron through the two types of cameras) was equal to the interpretation inhabited by James Franco. The director also uses the more traditional flashbacks emotional in the life of Aron to put in before the re-issue of his selfishness. If this process does not always reach are goal (relatives of Aron we are not familiar enough), it combines quite cleverly in the end with the hallucinations and nightmares of Aron, the other facts are authentic. The sequence of the storm is such a beautiful metaphor of the fears of the character and his discouragement, as if he saw more than a miracle to get out of it. Boyle also introduces quite well the ghosts that come to invade Aron to the end (another fact mentioned in the book), in association with the famous ray of the sun, source of life, and especially combining them with his own downfall and his memories in a split-screen, which marked his dive into madness and despair.

 

Boost the reality

127 hours imposes another challenge of staging, that of making a film that essentially takes place in a narrow canyon with a unique character whose movements are very limited. While maintaining a large share of realism, Danny Boyle, is obliged to use many means to boost its staging. Because, as said himself, the director, if the final one is more in an emotional journey, the film must still remain physical.

Side realistic the film will go through several points. First, sticking closer to the events that have taken place (except for the few changes mentioned above, the movie is extremely faithful to what really happened in the past), and then also being very thorough in the reconstruction of the holding of Aron, its tools (unpacking his bag is nearly a documentary) and of the place. An exact replica of the canyon was constructed in the studio, (because it was impossible to turn the actual place) but no development has been achieved, to maintain the feeling of closeness. Danny Boyle has used cameras SI2K (the same as for Slumdog Millionaire), very small and handy. They allow us to be closer to James Franco, to create something very intimate, while bringing a very physical image. The height of realism remains the first sequence in the canyon, when Aron puts all of her strength to try to free themselves from the rock. A catch of 20 minutes was carried out where James Franco gives literally everything a game very close to the ” Method “. A camera was rotating constantly around him, and the images have then been mounted in a way that unstructured to energize the stage and the show under all points of view as possible, giving and its impact. Furthermore, the sequences of messages videos are also very realistic, James Franco being then alone, directing his camera.

However, to revive the viewer’s attention, the staging should be varied. Moreover, it should also allow support for the side fiction of the film not that it’s similar to the documentary, less prompt to emotion. Boyle will thus change the framing, the camera movements… the sequence of The preparation for the night for example was shot with a Canon camera capable of taking 12 frames/second. This gives a very jerky at the scene, raising his hand to be laborious, while giving a side a little ” pop “allowing the viewer to decompress (and that does not betray Aron Ralston, an amateur of “pop culture” as shown in his book). In the same vein, one of the attempts for the lifting of the rock is punctuated by the hit, ” Lovely Day “, reflecting the momentum of hope to Aron, while giving one side a bit ironic to the scene.

The sequence of the amputation also responds to this balance between realism and fiction. It should be close to what happened without falling into sensationalism, gore. While showing the least possible, it is necessary to suggest the difficulty of the deed, and the pain felt by Aron. A prosthetic arm has been reconstituted identically, and James Franco has remade the same work as the real Aron. The sequence lasts long enough to give an idea of the actual duration of the action (40 minutes). The evocation of the pain is through the noise (cutting the nerve) and the music rises to crescendo until the final moment of deliverance. Boyle contrast then of a sudden his direction, for the audience as Aron is able to regain his senses.

The last part of the film is also very cinematic. If reality is respected with the abseiling, the film emphasizes the euphoria and the rise to power of emotion (via the “Festival” by Sigur Rós) at the ordeal that still lived Aron during his journey on foot before meeting his rescuers. Danny Boyle suggests the same when using the blinding light and oppressive of the sun and by framing quite disjointed. But his choice is probably the best to close this which must above all remain a formidable lesson of courage and humanity.

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