That's a squeamish play on words considering it's a tense, real-life drama about a mountaineer (played by James Franco) who cuts off his arm when trapped in a canyon, but "impressive" is the most important of those words. It suggests another major accomplishment from director Danny Boyle and writer Simon Beaufoy, who swept the 2008 Oscars with "Slumdog Millionaire." "127 Hours" must, therefore, be considered a serious rival for best picture.
"It’s a tour-de-force for Franco, virtually never off screen in the same way Spencer Tracy triumphed in the similarly spare 'The Old Man and the Sea,' " says Pete Hammond (Deadline Hollywood). "Franco's performance could put him in contention for a best actor Oscar nod just as Tracy’s did over 50 years ago. It should be noted that Franco’s 'farewell to arm' scene is graphic and not for the squeamish."
Tracy, by the way, was nominated for best actor of 1958, but lost to David Niven ("Separate Table"). "The Old Man and the Sea" was not nominated for best picture, but there were only five nominees back in those days, not 10.
Photo: James Franco in "127 Hours." Credit: Fox Searchlight