>“choose life!”

Posted on May 26, 2011


this movie could be considered to be a lesson to kids: if you’re going off somewhere… leave a note!

it can also be considered as a lesson to us all. let me extrapolate somewhat.

i watched 127 hours a while back [and raved about it on facebook] but never got round to writing a full review for it – so here goes.

danny boyle should be a national treasure. from stolen money to zombies and astronauts to slumdogs – the man is a genius in whatever he does. even ‘the beach’, while not his best work, still shows better craftsmanship and understanding of what makes a great movie than the majority of stuff other directors have produced in the last decade.

his last movie continues that success. everyone and his dog knows the story behind this movie. rock climber falls, rock climber’s arm gets trapped by boulder, rock climber must escape or die, rock climber lops arm off, rock climber learns life lesson. it could be a grim tale and with a lesser director it may well have ended up an absolute snorefest. but it didn’t… and it isn’t.

now, the problem with this ‘true story’ is that we already know how it turns out so the main dramatic elements will not come as a surprise. because we know this, and director knows we know this, he has to pad out his tale somewhat! this is where it could have got really tedious. but boyle mixes the flashbacks, hallucinations, and his use of cameras and extreme close-ups to tell a gripping story [sorry].

i love the fact that it’s only when he becomes trapped that we are presented with the movie’s title: 127 hours- the period of time aron finds himself in this horrifying situation. now he’s beginning to panic, and so do we. he tries everything to free his arm and finally comes to the realisation that there really is only one way he is going to survive. I cannot talk about this movie without mentioning “the bit with the arm”. this is handled in a very clever way and is completely realistic, while being in no way gratuitous. be warned, the intricate severing of his arm is brutal, and even though i had prepared myself for this act, it turns out i wasn’t that prepared at all!

now, what begins as a tragic story is ultimately an uplifting movie of the fight to survive. A fight that we all have within us, that we act out every day. We go to work to earn money to survive, we eat and drink to survive, we spend time alone to survive the noise, we spend time with friends and loved ones to survive the loneliness.

it’s a brilliant film, and i heartily recommend you see it.

we can sometimes [unknowingly] get trapped in our own canyon – staring at the walls with no way of escape. but we aren’t as trapped as we think we are. if we release ourselves from this existence from time to time – to experience the wonder of god’s creation in the open air, or the company of a close friend who we’ve been too busy to see, it can make all the difference to our existence.

we were not created to work, we were created to be.

so maybe it’s time to look up and stop working… and start being.

as one of boyle’s famous characters once said, “choose life!”.

“i call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that i have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live,”

Deut 30:19

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