127 Hours

Rated 3.0

The new one from Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle recounts how the 27-year-old mountaineer Aron Ralston got himself trapped for five days under a boulder in a Utah canyon and cut off his own arm to escape. Adapting Ralston’s memoir Between a Rock and a Hard Place with co-writer Simon Beaufoy, Boyle applies the usual heaping dollop of his twitchy, belabored style (and, in the pivotal scene, does not skimp on the messy details), but much more compelling is the naturally effective choice of casting James Franco in the lead role. As Ralston reflects on his situation and on the family and friends who’ve meant the most to him, the movie’s best dynamics are in Franco’s face: the mischief in his eyes getting clobbered into forlornness, then swimming in delirium, then setting into resolve.