It's Unpleasant to Watch James Franco Saw His Arm Off

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This moment has been coming for quite some time. It was pretty much inevitable the second that Danny Boyle attached himself to a true story project about an outdoorsman who amputated his own arm to avoid starving to death. Well, here it is, 127 Hours with James Franco. It's as violent as the premise implied, with crowds at film festivals, private screenings and premieres all reacting in disgust to the cringe-worthy sequences when the actor attempts to hack, gnaw and otherwise sever his limb. Franco is also getting quite a few rave responses. But queasy film goers, just take note what's been said about those scenes in question:

  • Slate - "Honestly, I watched that part through intermittently covered eyes."
  • Fox Searchlight Co-President - "I would prefer that people not pass out — it’s not a plus...We don’t see a particular publicity value in it."
  • Movie Line: Final Tally of People Affected: "Faintings: 13-16, Light-headedness: 2, Seizures: 3, Panic attacks: 1, Vomiting: Unknown, Exorcist mentions: 3"
  • The New York Times - "The cracking of a bone, the severing of a nerve, the desperate consumption of a water bag filled with urine...what these moments communicate is more than worth a jolt of discomfort or a spasm of revulsion.
  • Entertainment Weekly - "Hey, what better compliment than proof that they’ve made you literally feel for a character?"
  • The Los Angeles Times- "The amputation scene that caused all the panic is hardly that graphic, and the incidents have occurred at a rate of of a fraction of 1%."
  • Danny Boyle - "It’s not a hype thing, and they’re OK. But I think the vast majority of the audience appreciates the experience of going on such an intense journey."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.