Touching the Void Essays

Submitted By iklustre
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Pages: 6

Touching the Void Isaiah Lustre
In the opening scenes of ‘Touching the Void’ by Kevin MacDonald, utilizes the narrative features of characterization, soundtrack and visual elements to present Simon and Joe in the opening scenes. During the opening scenes, Simon and Joe are introduced as young, ambitious, naïve climbers who are passionate about climbing the unconquered 21,000 face of Suila Grande in the Peruvian Andes. Joe and Simon are intially presented as self-assured, confident climbers. Firstly, the director utilizes the narrative feature of characterization. Joe is presented to be selfish, stating that he did not care about those who had failed in previous expeditions, but instead “we’ll just do it… we’re better than them” Their naivety and over-confident attitude towards climbing, due to the view, gave them a misjudgement and leads them to the near-death experience they are in. “Looks harder than what I expected… but I was excited.” The director uses several extreme long dhots of the mountain range to help the audience gain an understanding of the sheer danger and extreme size of the mountains. The long shots were often low angled shots which looked up the mountains. This creates an effect that the mountains are dominating over them. MacDonald presents subtle hints to the audience to how dangerous nature is when it is disrespected. The confident Joe and Simon tackled climbing a treacherous mountain as inexperienced climbers, tells us of a higher chance of an inevitabel accident or consequence to occur within the neat future, as they are not exposed to the possible consequences which can occur. MacDonald further emphasizes the treacherous surrounding through dramatic zooms. The shot begins with Joe and Simon climbing the mountain and quickly zooming out into an extreme wide shot. The combined extreme wide shot and dramatic zooms reflect the level of inexperience and danger of their journey. The two climbers believe that they could “just do it” as they say that “we are better than them” When in reality their small size contrasts significantly to the dramatic soom, delineating the message that they shuld not be partaking on this journey. MacDonald also skilfully crafts the film’s soundtrack to delineate the overall message of danger of the climb that is to come. The soundtrack used within the opening scenes begin in pianissimo. The sustained notes of the orchestra compliment the ongoing shots of the scene. The treacherous mountains are more amplified in terror are the soundtrack features a crescendo to mezzo piano and decrescendos back to a pianissimo. The effect of such creates the atmosphere of emotion that this is a place where it is very dangerous and is almost giving the effect of dominance, as though the orchestra is the mountain and it is dominating over, presenting its vastness to the audience. The scene consists of a crescendo that is evident throughout the scene as the music is continuously building up. Boyle skilfully combines the visual elements of a wide establishing shot to accompany the soundtrack. The shot consists of the sparseness of the mountains and its humungous figure. It is a face that is terribly massive. Boyle uses a significant amount of wide and long shots to convey a message of danger. Its as though the shots are a rebuke to Joe and Simon’s arrogance and are taunting them, that they are doomed for trouble and failure. Sucessfully, Boyle has crafted the two narrative features to present to us the naivety of Joe and Simon. The fact that they think that they are able to climb the Suila Grande in “Alpine Style” (meaning everything is done in one push and there is a set number of equipment/resources) in one go is merely an arrogant thing to say. The soundtrack and visual elements further emphasise this point as Boyle wants to communicate that there is bound to be danger and consequences to occur as they climb this mountain. Boyle’s use of the narratives, characterization, soundtrack and