Not the length of time it feels you’ve been watching Martin Scorsese’s Silence when the credits roll. Rather, it’s how long 30-something outdoorsman Aron Ralston (James Franco) was trapped in a “slot canyon” while extreme-hiking in Utah in 2003. Danny Boyle’s taut, predominantly award-nominated true-life tale hinges on its very specific, unbearably visceral outcome. If by chance you don’t know the gory details, I won’t spoil it. Even if you do, the quietly escalating nightmare is expertly told, with Franco on fine, if immobilised form. Beneath the awe-inspiring desert landscape, this is close-up, claustrophobic drama. Franco’s video messages are the movie’s only real narrative device beyond a compelling sense of time passing and options diminishing. It’s cleverly adapted by Simon Beaufoy from Ralston’s account, but be warned: it’s tough going. And don’t go hiking solo without telling anyone.
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