Since finishing the book, “Between a Rock and a Hard Place,” I’ve developed a bit of an Aron Ralston obsession. Immediately after I watched the book I watched the Dateline special, “Desperate Days in Blue John Canyon,” in which Aron Ralston returns to the site of the accident with Tom Brokaw exactly six months after it happened.
It was incredibly well produced and shot, and I gained a new respect for Brokaw, who hiked, climbed and repelled right along with Ralston! Having created a picture of the accident scene in my mind, it was astonishing to me to see how the actual place was situated.
Seeing overhead shots of Blue John Canyon, and the tiny little crevice in which Ralston was trapped, it was even more isolated than I imagined. I immediately thought, “Oh yeah. No one would have found him if he had just sat there and waited.” This place is in the middle of no where.
If you want the real story, just watch the Dateline special. If you want to see the amputation, watch 127 Hours. The amputation is portrayed (to my medically untrained eye) exactly as Ralston describes it in his memoir.
I enjoyed the movie. I’m VERY glad I read the book first – because quite honestly, I don’t know if I would have believed some of the things that happened. I would have thought they played up the drama for the movie. Like when he had a hallucination/vision of his future son before he cut his arm off… cheesy sappy movie twist? Nope, he wrote about that in the book, and how it gave him hope. Or when he took the time to take a picture of his arm stuck in the boulder just after he cut it off, before he scrambled out of the canyon. Seriously? Who would have done that??? Aron Ralston did.
I’m not a huge James Franco fan, but I liked him in this. I can imagine for him, it’s the role of a lifetime. Imagine getting the chance to tell such a courageous true story.
I wish they had made Ralson’s mother a bigger part of the movie. Based on the book and the Dateline interviews, I believe his mother’s actions played a huge role in the quick mobilization of rescue crews. She hacked into her son’s email, got in touch with his friends and co-workers, and started calling random ranger’s stations in Utah and Colorado. Like my mother, there’s no way she can sit idle when she knows there’s something wrong. I wanted to hug her after I read the book. She was barely in the movie.
As I was putting together this entry, it struck me how much publicity Ralston’s story has received. You can’t google “Blue John Canyon” without having Ralston’s (and Franco’s!) picture pop up. His life has changed in so many ways. Well, now that this is published there will be one more search result about his amazing story. Hopefully now this obsession is out of my system… but I have a feeling the lessons and inspiration will stay with me for quite some time.