Textual Analysis 6: ‘127 Hours’ Opening Title Sequence

Introduction 

127 Hours is a 2010 British-American biographical survival drama film directed, co-written, and produced by Danny Boyle.

It is about canyoneers who become trapped by a boulder in an isolated slot canyon in Utah.

It is a British and American venture produced by Everest Entertainment, Film4 Productions, HandMade Films and Cloud Eight Films.

 

The Title Sequence

 

At the start of the sequence, multiple long shots are used. Long shots are generally used to establish the setting of of a film, however the use of multiple different long shots edited next to each other makes the viewer feel disorientated, which is a contrast to what a conventional establishing shot does. These long shots also have very high key lighting, which is not very conventional of a thriller film. With the shots all the people appear to be minding their own business and just going on about their lives.  This too is quite unconventional as generally a thriller title sequence will focus on a certain aspect of the plot. It could be argued however that these all the random people minding their own business links to Aron Ralston not being saved and having to save himself as no one else knew where he was because everyone is focused on themselves and shows how if one person is missing people won’t necessarily notice, life goes on. Multiple people has connotations to chlostrobia, which foreshadows Aron’s feeling when trapped.

The sequence then moves on to Aron in his home. Through the mise-en-scene we can tell that he is potentially leaving for a period of time, due to the fact he is packing essentials such as food, drink, and tools nessacery for an expedition. We also see him narrowly miss getting a hold of his sharp knife, foreshadowing the pain he has to go through later on when cutting his arm off with a blunt knife. It is also ironic how he is reaching with an arm that the he will no longer have by the end of the film. The music is quite upbeat. The normality of this opening title sequence creates an enigma in the audience as they would have seen this film marketed as a thriller and would be anticipating when something unusual will happen. This is a very unusual and clever way to crate a conventional feeling associated with the genre.

The sequence then returns to being split in to sections on the screen. The shots are now less active as not as many people are in the shots. Him driving in the other directions to the cyclists group suggests that he is going somewhere isolated. This is backed up by the sign saying “next services 100 miles” the switch to low key lighting suggests that where he is going is, as well as isolated, dangerous.

 

 

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