Danny Boyle puts human touch into "127 Hours"

Thu Nov 4, 2010 3:49pm EDT
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By Bob Tourtellotte

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - It's one thing to create a thrilling movie set in the mad city of Mumbai with a pair of young lovers, romance and money. It's quite another to do it in the Utah wilderness with one man, one rock and a sawed-off arm.

But most film directors are not Danny Boyle, the Oscar winner of smash hit "Slumdog Millionaire."

His new film, "127 Hours," debuts in major U.S. cities on Friday telling the real-life tale of mountaineer Aron Ralston, whose forearm becomes pinned against a canyon wall by a boulder. Ralston had to crack the bones, slice through muscle and sever nerve tissue to rescue himself from certain death.

The movie has earned strong praise, and even Oscar buzz, at festivals for its fast pace and dynamic retelling of a lonely tale. Yet to hear Boyle tell it, the allure is not its gory ending of self-amputation. Rather, it is the strength Ralston draws from family, friends and loved ones hundreds of miles away to get through his ordeal.

"He begins to realize there's a movement toward something that, in order to have that will to survive, you have to possess," Boyle told Reuters, "and it's grace, actually, it's a kind of humility."

If ever there was a story that truly embodies the cliche' of being stuck between a rock and a hard place, it is Ralston's. In 2003, the experienced hiker and climber made the ultimate outdoor mistake. He went camping and did not tell anyone where he was going.

When easing down a mountain trail, he slipped and fell. A small boulder came crashing down with him and pinned his arm against the canyon wall, and Ralston was trapped. He was the only person who knew he was there.


<p>Director Danny Boyle attends a news conference to promote the film "127 Hours" during the 35th Toronto International Film Festival September 12, 2010. REUTERS/Fred Thornhill</p>