Week 5: Sound and meaning; an analysis: Unit 4

For this post I’m going to pick a scene from a film were the sound used conveys meaning, I’m going to explain why and how they have used that certain techniques over anything else. I’m also going to describe the use of Semiology, Genre, and mise-on-scene in the scene and how the sound relates to all three techniques.



The film scene I have chose for this post is the amputation scene from 127 hours (07 Jan 2011). This film follows a man after a boulder falls onto his arm trapping him in a canyon in Utah, there is no civilisation near by and he’s been trapped for almost five days and is forced to take action in order to survive.

It starts fairly quiet apart from some low music. By having no background noise it shows that he is isolated from any kind of civilisation, he is alone and relying on himself to survive. The character is quiet and calm which could suggest he is concentrating and you as a viewer can understand what he is thinking and what he is about to do. The mise-en-scene also supports this idea as the character is staring back and forth between his knife and his trapped arm, he also seems skeptical over what he’s about to do however understands that this is the only thing he can do to escape.

The music fits the theme of the film which is Thriller, however it is also slow paced which fits perfectly with what’s on screen as the character may be starting to get drowsy because of the pain and the loss of blood. I also think the music represents determination as he’s gone this far and there’s no going back, he needs to do this if he is going to survive and he understands that.

Then when he tries to cut something in his arm a sound plays every time he touches it, it’s an intense, alarming screech which suggests its a nerve as that is a very painful and sensitive thing. It is similar to the game operation as when you touch something wrong it makes a really horrific sound. Once he cuts the nerve the noise plays for longer and is the only thing we can hear, this shows he is in unimaginable pain and could be on the verge of passing out.

Towards the end the determined music starts playing louder, this suggest he is at the end of the fight and has got to continue for a little longer. As well as the music playing louder the mise-en-scene also plays a big part in showing determination as we see a hallucination of what could be the characters son which drives the character to complete his task. Then once he is free the music cuts quickly which could show relief that the hard part is over and that he is going home. As a viewer this is a horrific scene to watch, but what makes it worse is the genre which is that its a Biography which makes people feel bad for the person who went through it who was Aron Ralston.

The sound in this scene does a really good job of describing what it would have been like to be in that situation and works well with the Mise-en-scene to create a immersive scene. 

Week 5: Sound and meaning; an analysis: Unit 4

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