A strange phenomenon occurred at the theater when I went to watch 127 Hours yesterday — and I’m not talking about the baffling fact that some steel-stomached moviegoers walked into the film with snacks in-hand, apparently unfazed by reports of audience members fainting at screenings from the gore.
The oddity in question came just as this movie’s protagonist was about to cut off his own arm with the aid of a dull pocket knife. (That’s not really a spoiler, right?) As James Franco (playing trapped adventure junkie Aron Ralston) stuck his finger inside a puncture wound in his arm to begin the horrifying amputation process, I saw a wave of heads in the crowd disappear from my line of sight and settle into the shoulder of the person next to them. My non-scientific estimate — based on my observations from my seat at the back of the theater — would be that roughly one-third of the audience had little interest in seeing the rest of that scene.
The reaction would have come as less of a shock to me had the movie’s graphic scene come without warning, but we knew it was coming and that it was an important part of the story. (Personally, it was also the main reason my morbid curiosity and I bought a ticket.)
Perhaps my fellow audience members’ realistic estimates about their ability to handle the gruesomeness helped prevent any major incident during the screening. (Yes, no one fainted.) While that level of self-awareness should be applauded, I still think they kind of missed out.
What do you think, PopWatchers? Did you go watch 127 Hours this weekend? If so, were you able to watch the amputation scene? And did anyone faint at your screening?
EW Review: ’127 Hours’
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