127 Hours Directed by: Danny Boyle Written by: Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy (screenplay), Aron Ralston (book) Starring: James Franco, Kate Mara, Amber Tamblyn, and Sean Bott
Aron Ralston cut his own arm off to escape a boulder that pinned him against a canyon wall. That much we know. The rest, drawn from his hallucinatory recounting in his autobiography and combined with some creative liberties from a passionate filmmaker, is a story waiting to be told.
It’s interesting to think how certain directors would handle different source material. A story like this could tell how Aron recovered after his ordeal, or it could show his ordeal. If you’re looking for the gooey easy way out, the former is your best bet, but Danny Boyle isn’t going for the easy way out.
Antichrist Directed by: Lars von Trier Written by: Lars von Trier Starring: Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg
Much has been made of this visually striking, grotesquely dark film from Danish auteur Lars von Trier. The rumors are true, almost all of them. There is a talking fox. There is a gruesome climax filled with not one, but two, genital mutilations. If the latter doesn’t draw in today’s torture porn crowd, it’s only because the barbarity doesn’t fall within the tight moral coding and sugar-coated bloodbath of the Saw franchise.
Von Trier likes to think of himself as above mere mutilation for the sake of it, but viewing this film as a tale with morals when the content is so morally reprehensible creates kind of a paradox. His film is at times visually striking, and at times brutally unwatchable.
It begins with a beautifully filmed yet tragic slow-motion black and white sequence of a couple (William Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg) making love while their son sneaks out of his crib and plummets out a window to his death. Mr. von Trier is not above starting out his film with the most cliche form of tragedy: kill the kid.