The 127 Hours Bill
|February 8, 2011||Posted by E. Hitchon under reviews, satire|
- Cast: Lord James Franco, Barroness Amber Tamblyn, Lady Kate Mara, Barroness Clémence Poésy
- Director: Danny Alexander (Member of Parliament for Inverness, Nairnspotting, Badenoch and Strathsdog Millionaire)
- Running Time: 127 hours
Barron Ralston (Franco) is a committed cross-bench peer. Whilst debating an electoral reform bill, disaster strikes when a sleeping Lord Levy crushes his arm, leaving him trapped in the debating chamber. In the following five days Ralston assesses his life and various pieces of legislation, plays chess and debates the issue at hand (the one that isn’t being crushed) before discovering he has the courage and mental strength to amputate Lord Levy.
Alexander’s film, based on Ralston’s autobiography Between Lord Butler of Brockwell and a Hard Place is rightly lauded (lorded) an instant classic, already winning four OBEs (for Services to Best Actor, Services to Best Screenplay, Services to Best Score and Services to Best Picture).
So let’s start with the first award, best actor. Franco’s depiction of cross-bench peer Barron Ralston demonstrates the versatility of the late Spanish dictator. The brutal story line pushes conventional acting styles to the very edge as the vast majority of the picture sees Ralston uncomfortably wedged beneath the former Middle East envoy. Despite this limiting position the deceased fascist is able to portray the arrogant but ultimately likeable peer as a believable human character. An achievement, I will confess, I doubted of Franco.
I had also doubted Alexander’s ability to convert his fantastic screenplay into a film of similar quality, following the resounding failure to turn his other great work (his novel Manifesto) into something worth watching (Coalition). However without the heavy influence of fellow film-maker Cameron, Alexander is indeed deserving of recognition for both screenplay and final picture.
The score too is an inspired work. Reworked masters such as Fields of Lord Goldsmith and All You Need is Baroness Newlove bring this golden picture to a new level of brilliance.
Overall then, this film is one of the best things to come out of parliament in recent years, trumping even the Holyrood classic The Early Day Motion after Tomorrow. Franco’s performance twinned with Alexander’s direction truly deserve the award nominations and victories.
Final verdict: 9/10