Directed by: Danny Boyle
Starring: James Franco.
Music by: A.R. Rahman
My Rating: 3/5
And one of the reasons for not watching “Slumdog Millionaire” was “28 Days Later.” So you can imagine what kind of an impression “28 Days Later” must have left on me that it dissuaded me from watching an Oscar winning movie like “Slumdog Millionaire.”
But to be really honest, that was not the only reason why I didn’t watch “Slumdog Millionaire.” If it had been any other movie, I would have watched it out of sheer curiosity on why it was such a big hit. But the subject Boyle dealt with was of very little interest to me.
Well actually no, that’s not entirely correct. It’s not the subject that is of little interest to me, but it is the “subject” who is dealing with the subject of the movie which is of very little interest to me.
I could not care less on learning what the white man’s perspective is on India’s social problems. And A.R. Rahman’s “Jai Ho” song didn’t help either. It was probably the first Rahman’s song I actually didn’t like. That’s coming from a huge Rahman fan.
I think I should stop talking of “Slumdong Millionaire” now. This review is about “127 Hours” and not “Slumdog Millionaire” or why I despise Hollywood movies on India.
“127 Hours” is based on a true story of a man named Aron Ralston, played by James Franco in the movie. Back in 2003, while on a hike in the mountains of Utah, Aron falls through a narrow crack in a mountain and in the process gets his hand stuck underneath a boulder.
And to give you a sense of how dire the situation gets for Aron, he reaches a point in his ordeal (in the movie) where he gives up hope of ever being able to get his hand free and tapes his goodbyes to his family and friends on a camcorder, which he happened to be carrying on him at the time.
As the name of the movie suggests, Aron stays stuck in that narrow, barely three-meter-wide chasm for 127 hours, which is a little more than five days.
The entire movie is on what he goes through in those very long and harrowing five days of his life; and how he deals with the situation he so unluckily finds himself in.
The man had to face his mortality in a way which I believe very few people ever have or will ever have to in their lives. Being starved to death slowly in the middle of nowhere, all alone, is a situation hard to even imagine.
I actually remember back when this was a huge news story in the media. So I’m not surprised they eventually made a movie on it. It was big news back then.
But coming back to the movie; as I’ve made it quite clear in the beginning, I believe Danny Boyle sucks as a director. So as far as direction goes, I find very little to praise. I give Boyle no credit for how good the movie turned out to be. I actually believe, the movie would have been better if he were not the director.
But what saves the movie from Boyle’s convoluted sense of direction is James Franco’s superb acting and A.R. Rahman’s amazing music.
After watching Franco give his dull and uninspiring performance in “Spiderman,” who could have guessed Franco also knew how to act. He has managed to earn a new fan.
Since the movie is all about him being stuck in a narrow canyon, you only have Franco to hold your attention and keep you engrossed in the story with some of his profoundly poignant moments. There isn’t much else going on in the movie: it’s him, nature and his momentary flashbacks.
Though Franco’s performance is excellent, I feel if it had not been for A.R. Rahman’s captivating score to the movie to fill the silence, Franco’s acting skills — no matter how good — could not have saved the movie from bombing at the box office.
I know critics are raving about this movie and it has even been nominated for the Oscars; however, I feel the movie is getting unfair attention and hype because of Danny Boyle’s new-found reputation as a “great” director after his previous hit, “Slumdog Millionaire.”
So to answer the million dollar slumdog question: Do I think you ought to watch it?
I say: totally.
But don’t expect to be swept off your feet. Go in with low expectations, and you’ll probably come out feeling rewarded.