LFF Wrap-up. Day 14 through 16.
Well, a belated send off for the London Film Festival, which closed last Thursday to the end credits of Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours. Apologies for the delayed reportage, but the last few days proved to be little more than an extended pain in the arse for us, with very few screenings taken in thanks to numerous travel problems. I’m sure that those of you that follow me on Twitter will have noticed that a 12 hour traffic jam put paid to any plans that were had involving Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere and Jerzy Skolimowski’s Essential Killing, which some of you may remember were the two films most heavily trailed by me. To say that I was disappointed would be an understatement. Somewhere is out in early December, so thats not much of an issue, but I doubt very much that Essential Killing will see a theatrical release. O’ well.
127 Hours was pretty interesting. The film tells the true story of Aron Ralston, a cocky young adventurer that quite literally finds himself stuck between a rock and a hard place. Like David Fincher’s The Social Network, 127 Hours tells a tale ground in very recent history, with Ralston’s plight familiar to anyone of a reasonable age, so to see such a story on the silver screen proved a strange experience. While a “proper” review will come with the films theatrical release in the new year, I will say now that the two key “ingredients” towards the success of the film are its use of sound, and James Franco’s performance as Ralston. While I’m not convinced that the film will bring with it the mooted academy award nomination for Franco, its the sort of turn that propels him into the major leagues. Franco is on-screen for the entire duration of the films 94 minute running time, and provides an unflinching portrayal of a man hanging in the very balance of mortality. Likewise, Boyle’s use of sound and music (courtesy of Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire collaborator A. R. Rahman) provides a narrative angle that one wouldn’t necessarily expect from such a film, with the use of noise reminiscent of a dentists drill to emphasise the pain of broken nerves being particularly effective.
So yes, with the final moments of Danny Boyle’s latest film came the final moments of this years London Film Festival. In all its been a great (and tiring) couple of weeks, and it was somewhat fitting that a great British filmmaker closed what was effectively a festival showcasing the best of British cinema (in the face of supposed turmoil within the industry). Roll on 2011!