“I’m actually a little bit claustrophobic”, I whispered in the ear of my friend next to me as we watched the opening night of “127 Hours” at the George Street Cinemas in Sydney.
As I watched the film I was reminded of a dinner party conversation years ago with a couple of friends who were, at the time, quite into “caving”. They were telling a story about going into caves near Wellington in NSW and describing their descent into the caves through tiny holes in the ground. “Stop, please stop”, I told them. I’m not sure why I’m slightly claustrophobic, but I am. Maybe it’s all those years my parents locked me up in the cellar? (That’s a joke). Seriously, I don’t have a problem with heights, and nothing else worries me much, except for snakes and occasionally dogs. But yeah, holes in the ground. Wow, they upset me quite a bit.
Still, holes in the ground are nothing compared with what else we went through watching the film.
The guy whose life story it’s based upon, Aron Ralston was in Sydney for the opening night. For a few minutes we were, in fact, standing behind him on the red carpet.
As noted in Wikipedia…
Aron Lee Ralston (born October 27, 1975) is an American mountain climber and public speaker. He gained fame in May 2003 when, while canyoneering in Utah, he was forced to amputate his lower right arm with a dull knife in order to free himself after his arm became trapped by a boulder. The incident is documented in Ralston’s 2004 autobiography Between a Rock and a Hard Place, and is the subject of the 2010 film 127 Hours.
It’s a really interesting film on many levels: brilliant scenery, a great sense of adventure, humour, reflection, poignancy and so on. It’s also deeply psychological as you experience the mental agony he went through as he experienced what he did. For many, there would have been a temptation just to commit suicide as you knew the chances of your survival were slim. It’s the deeply psychological part of the movie I loved. I was also intrigued by the simple “please” and “thankyou” comments he made when hoping to get out of his situation and then eventually making it, and wondered if he may have been a Christian, or a believer of some sorts.
Undoubtedly, the most distressing part of the film is the amputation scene when he hacks off his arm with a pen-knife. I couldn’t watch, and as I turned my head away and looked towards my near neighbours in the cinema, I noted a fair few of them had turned their heads also.
I understand the reason for the scene’s inclusion in the film to illustrate the film’s central message. It’s a very brutal and honest way of bringing home the point that Aron himself makes at one point, that you should never do anything like this alone, and you should never think you’re invincible. And I’m hope it’s a really brilliant, effective way of getting home the point to a target audience of a bunch of young men who all think they can be Bear Grylls, which can only be a good thing.
After the film we had a bite to eat at The Crown Hotel, a few glasses of wine, and a good heart to heart. A brilliant Monday night.