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'127 Hours' (2010)
Plot: Based on a true story, mountain climber Aron Ralston fights for survival after being pinned beneath a boulder in a narrow, isolated canyon.
Main adversaries: Starvation, dehydration, blood loss, exposure
Why it's good: James Franco does a superb job of anchoring this contained true-life drama, convincingly portraying the gamut of emotions - pain, fear, resilience, resignation - experienced by his character as he fights for life in a seemingly desperate situation. Danny Boyle's docu-style direction makes Ralston's plight all the more immediate, culminating in a much-talked-about amputation scene that makes you feel every cut. - Chris Eggertsen