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This doesn't usually happen. I can witness a great many ordeals in life without any sort of trigger being pulled, be it the sight of bloody torrents or finding myself gripped in an inconvenient headlock... but when I do topple over and lose consciousness in this way it's almost always very embarrassing and -- in those particularly rare instances where celluloid is involved -- rather telling of the quality of the film responsible.
Danny Boyle's much lauded 127 hours had been sitting on my "to watch" list since it came out in 2010, and earlier this evening I finally got around to sitting down and hitting play. I was engrossed. The highly stylized yet predominantly realistic account of Aron Ralston's little tumble down the gorge arrested my attention from the onset and wouldn't would let go until the very end. I was hooked.
Save for during one scene.
As I watched it, still very much enthralled, a tickle of nausea ran 'round my stomach. The blend of style and realism, the well timed sound cues, the visuals, the throbbing music...: all was positively hellbent on pulling that 2-year-dormant vasovagal trigger and dropping me to the floor faster than a Jovian cannonball. But it wasn't until the most intense part of the scene had actually concluded that I realised how much effort it had taken me (and my stomach) to survive it. As soon as Aron "pulled away" from the inanimate antagonist of the film, I decided to pause and stand up for a leak, and "maybe grab a bit of fresh air."
Piss > flush > *NOPE*
...I came to after roughly 10 seconds of indescribable confusion, contemplating where on earth I was, slipper clad feet hugging tight the base of the toilet bowl in front of me. The neck was a little sore, but that was all she wrote for the most part (the slight hunch I had adopted that evening from slumping at the computer screen had come in handy after all!). I lay still for another minute, got up, had some tea and biscuits, nipped a bit of fresh air for good measure, ate a banana... and then returned to finish the film.
Danny Boyle 1
Presumably I win when I succeed in making a film faint. This will take some planning.
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Out of curiosity, what other movies come close to 127 hours in producing that kind of reaction for you? It's not often you read about actual physical experiences arising after a traumatising scene. (EDIT: Or I just haven't read enough around the place, heh..)
In total, the films that come close to producing this kind of reaction in me number somewhere in the twenties or thirties at most, and almost all of those are highly exploitative and pretty poor to boot... but there certainly will be some films (such as 127) where I can only give credit for evoking this sort of response. I'm sure there are better examples, but the remake of I Spit On Your Grave managed within me a level of disgust and disagreement that made me hate the film completely, as it bundled supressive sexual violence with destructive ideas.
Of course, this is talking about only the one type of emotional response here, and the only type that might actually translate into a vasovagal response as well. I'm not going to faint after watching a scene far more inducing of anger or sorrow, for example, even if succeeds in provoking that emotion to a greater extent than what was managed in 127 Hours for horror and high tension.
Oh yeah, High Tension. That's another (rather rubbish, I think) exploitative film, from what I remember :p
EDIT: Now that I recall, I can pinpoint the exact moment that the trigger was pulled in the scene. It was when Aron