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Just another potBoyler

127 hoursDirection: Danny BoyleCast: James Franco, Clemence PoesyRating: ** 1/2

india Updated: Jan 28, 2011 01:01 IST

Based on a true story, Danny Boyle’s follow-up to Slumdog Millionaire (2008) is an overblown account of the ordeal suffered by a young hiker while trapped under a boulder in a canyon for the eponymous span of time in 2003.

Beating back panic with every ticking hour, the hiker (Franco) struggles to extricate his forearm from the immovable rock. But as hopes of rescue dwindle along with food and water supply, he finally resorts to the only option left available to him, never mind that it’s particularly gruesome. Be warned: certain graphic scenes are not suitable for the squeamish or the faint-hearted.

Employing hyper-kinetic editing and frantic camerawork, Boyle assaults us with a barrage of visual gimmicks including split-screens and time-lapse transitions. The outcome often comes across as a super-slick pop music video besides somewhat trivializing the plight of the trapped protagonist.

Although his movements are constrained by the claustrophobic confines of the canyon, the camera constantly bounds in and out of the crevice in the form of flashbacks, fantasies and hallucinations. The hiker may not have brought a cell phone or sharp Swiss knife, yet he conveniently carries a camcorder on which he records his harrowing predicament.

The message that no man is an island and everyone needs the help and camaraderie of others is conveyed rather heavy-handedly. A R Rahman’s background music score is borderline irritant.

Essentially a one-actor show, James Franco is convincing in the role, which snagged a Best Actor Oscar nomination this week.

The survival tale has its quotient of intense moments but on the whole, 127 Hours is a misfire.