BARRY NORMAN: FILM OF THE DAY
127 Hours ★★★★
A true story, which, considering its subject matter, is surprisingly gripping. It tells how Aron Ralston (James Franco), an engineer, fell in a canyon in Utah and had his arm trapped between a boulder and the canyon wall. Simply watching him so immobilised for 127 hours would be like watching paint dry, if rather more harrowing. But Danny Boyle’s film circumvents this by starting gently with Franco meeting a couple of girls and then, when the horror strikes, videoing his attempts to survive and, as food and water run out, hallucinating about his past, his family and a former lover. All of this is well done and so, to be fair, are Franco’s attempts to free himself, especially when he tries to cut off his trapped arm with a blunt knife. It’s a riveting film, a testament to human courage and will to live, and was rewarded with Oscar nominations for best picture and, for Franco, best actor.
Great Expectations ★★★★★
Still the greatest film adaptation of a Dickens novel? Quite possibly. David Lean’s atmospheric Oscar-winner stars John Mills as orphan Pip, and look out for a young Alec Guinness.
Van Helsing ★★★
At the behest of Kate Beckinsale, Hugh Jackman takes on Dracula armed with more than the usual wooden stake. More adrenaline-fuelled than blood-soaked.
The Bourne Identity ★★★★
The great spy trilogy (ignore the Legacy) starts here with Matt Damon waking up with no knowledge of who he is, where he is, and what he’s capable of. Light blue touch paper and stand well back.
The Yellow Sea ★★★
PREMIERE 11.15pm-2.00am Film4
A far-out thriller from the Far East with Ha Jung-woo as a Korean cab driver who takes a job down south. Killing, that is.
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