Sunday, September 5, 2010

High on "Telluride": 127 Hours

Two years after Danny Boyle premiered Slumdog Millionaire at the festival, earning the film a distributor and saving it from a straight-to-DVD release, he returns the favor to Telluride by premiering his new film, 127 Hours, as the sneak preview of the festival. Word broke out about the film right after the screening ended. It was hard to write about anything else when everybody was feverishly talking about this film. I'll let the critics take it from here.
A.O. Scott (Awards Daily): "His experience is disconcerting enough just to think about, and to see it recreated, in Mr. Boyle’s characteristically fast-moving, immersive style, is jarring, thrilling and weirdly funny. At a question-and-answer session after the first screening on Saturday afternoon, Mr. Boyle — director of Trainspotting, 28 Days Later and of course Slumdog Millionaire, which snuck into Telluride two years ago — described himself as a thoroughly “urban” type with no great love for or interest in nature. And the jangly, jumpy energy he brings to a story of silence, solitude and confinement gives the film an irreverent kick that deepens and sharpens its emotional and spiritual insights."
Eugene Novikov (Cinematical): "This is the character arc at the heart of the film – the tempering of Aron's devil-may-care confidence, and the realization that he shouldn't take the world around him for granted. "I wish I had returned all of your phone calls," he tearfully tells his mother in one of the video messages he records half out of boredom, half as a kind of prayer. It's a familiar theme, echoing among other things the "happiness only real when shared" revelation that hit Into the Wild's Christopher McCandless too late. I was reminded also of The Lookout, a better film with Joseph Gordon-Levitt as an arrogant star athlete humbled by a crippling head injury."
So, consider this the official go ahead for a Best Picture campaign for this film. The empty nomination slots are filling up very quickly, and we may be in for one of the tightest and most exhilarating Oscar races in year. Against all these fantastic premieres, it's hard for me to keep an open mind about my personal vote of confidence.

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