In 2008 Danny Boyle had a year most directors only dream of, seeing Slumdog Millionaire become a worldwide box office phenomena while also snagging the top Oscars.
It put him in the enviable position of being able to make any project he chose next. But rather than try to recreate that massive success, he decided to adapt Aron Ralston’s remarkable true story of being trapped in a canyon for five days before being forced to amputate his own arm.
“The contrast between the billion people of India and this one guy in a canyon was kind of sweet,” Boyle told Metro. “It’s one of those stories that sort of snags in people’s consciousness. There are lots of similar stories, but this one really seemed to resonate.”
The resulting 127 Hours is an understandably grueling and visceral experience, but one filled with the director’s trademark hyperkinetic visual style. It’s not necessarily what you’d expect from a film about a single character trapped in one location, but that’s exactly what captured Boyle’s imagination.
“That was the challenge. I didn’t want to make a Robert Bresson type film. I wanted it to be an action movie even though he can’t move, full of momentum and vivid. I wanted it to literally vibrate in front of you and be full of contrast, gear changes, and music so that it felt rich even though the nature of it is that you’re pinched in and can’t move.”
Boyle’s film certainly succeeds in creating tremendous suspense and excitement out of a limited situation and it just might put him on the awards path again. Even though he might return to the heroin dens of Trainspotting for “the film after the next one,” we can expect his next project to be another stylistic flip. “I’m always looking to start again rather than just do a sequel or do the same thing,” remarked the director.
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