Filmgoers Faint During Amputation Scene of "127 Hours"

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Published November 08, 2010

| FoxNews.com

The true story of adventurer Aron Ralston, who severed his own arm to save his life in 2003, is proving too much for some audiences to take -- even causing some to faint during the movie’s amputation scene.

During the climax of "127 Hours," Ralston, portrayed by James Franco, first breaks and then cuts off his arm while trapped between a rock and a wall of the Moab Canyon in Utah. The scene lasts for nearly five minutes and clearly shows each step of the amputation.

As first reported by Sean O'Connell at Hollywoodnews.com, at a screening of the R-rated film at the Savannah Film Festival on Saturday, a woman began calling for a doctor to help a man who had apparently fainted after watching the scene.

“You have to turn the lights on,” a woman screamed.

“We need a doctor,” another man yelled.

Organizers said a man was taken to the hospital after the incident and pronounced healthy.

Several other filmgoers left the theater during the amputation scene.

“I couldn’t take it. I saw the interviews with Ralston on television and I knew what was going to happen. I was prepared but I couldn’t watch him do it. I was out of there when the knife hit his skin,” said festival attendee Sarah Culver outside of the theater. 

Culver returned to her seat 10 minutes later.

"127 Hours" is directed by Oscar-winning "Slumdog Millionaire" director Danny Boyle

Reps for the film's studio, FOX Searchlight, offered no comment to FoxNews.com on the fainting. But FOX Searchlight executive vice president Sheila DeLoach told the Los Angeles Times: "What we want to show people is that this movie is about more than one graphic scene. It's a heartwarming movie about how strong our will to live is and what one person does in order to live."

The Savannah man was not the film's first fainting victim, according to reports. There were reported faintings at the Telluride Film Festival in September, followed by more at the Toronto and Mill Valley festivals, as well as at the film’s Los Angeles premiere.

Film critic John Foote, who attended the Toronto screening, wrote on The Wrap.com at the time: “I cannot remember a reaction to a film like this in a very long time, perhaps not since ‘The Exorcist’ sent audiences scurrying for the doors.”

He added: "At the screening Monday, once again there were several mad dashes to the door when these scenes came on, and more than a few moviegoers were looking anywhere but at the screen."

A report in The London Sun alleged that "[h]orrified film fans threw up and fainted at the premiere of 'Slumdog Millionaire' director Danny Boyle's shocking new movie," at the closing of the London Film Festival last month.

Movieline.com estimated the total number of reported faintings between 13 and 16.

"127 Hours" tells the true story of climber Aron Ralston, who was trapped in a canyon for five days before he used a pen knife to remove his own arm. The movie is based on Ralston’s book about the incident, “Between a Rock and a Hard Place.”

Critics are calling the movie’s pivotal scene one of the most realistic in the canons of film. The entire process of removing the arm, from breaking the bone to severing the nerves is shown in great detail. The amputation scene made use of several prosthetic arms full of fake blood, muscles, ligaments, nerves and bone.

Director Boyle downplayed the incidents to the Los Angeles Times, saying only a "very small number of people" had passed out, noting that often those individuals returned to the theater after coming to.

"It’s not like a revulsion, like they’ve been caught out by something," Boyle said. "I think the intensity of the journey he takes them on climaxes and they just kind of go away for a few minutes in their minds. It's like, 'I'm overloading.'"

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