This movie embraces living. Your heart swells as you watch it. When James Franco cuts his arm off, all I could picture was James Stewart racing into Bedford Falls, jubilant, at the end of It’s a Wonderful Life. That might seem a strange comparison, but the essence of both scenes is identical; in each, a man scrabbles for his life; each man chooses the ragged beauty of living; they spit, and yelp, and go on, unfinished. Better to be alive. Better, even if your right arm ends in a stump. Because, no matter how obscene it is to see a man sever his arm, it’s nothing like as obscene as seeing him dead. Blood shows proof of life in 127 Hours. It’s the antithesis of a horror movie. Please, don’t be put off if you’re squeamish.
In a Danny Boyle movie you focus on who’s running. Picture Ewan McGregor in Trainspotting, hurtling down a high-street. Or Cillian Murphy in 28 Days Later, outpacing the dead. Slumdog Millionaire – Boyle’s latest – starts with a posse of Indian boys running. They’re trying to escape security guards in the story, but the real reason they run is: for the rush. As the drums beat on the soundtrack, you feel it. The rush. Velocity. Not only of the boys, but of their country. The reason Boyle seems born again as a director on this movie is because India today is sprinting. You want to know what becoming a global superpower feels like? Run!