Holmes Under The Hammer

Discuss the ways in which the extract constructs the representation of  disability/ability using the following: Camerawork, Editing, Sound design and Mise en scene.


In the first few seconds of film we are shown a war zone to emphasise , using hand held point of view camera shot which is used to give an immersive feel to the audience. Using a point of view shot shows the former ability of the protagonist, later shown to be John Watson, and this juxtaposes the later shots showing his disability in the present day. Lens flare is also seen to be used during this scene which adds reality. The sound used in the dream/ flashback scene is diegetic and contains echoes of the war zone which displays the distortion and trauma the character still feels as it echoes in his mind, projecting the theme of his disability. The camera then flashes back to a one shot of John which shows his isolation then this is shortly followed by the camera blurring to emphasise the distortion and sickness he feels. The echo then fades and heavy breathing is amplified to give a tense feel to the audience and this is then shortly followed by silence to replicate the mundaneness of his life. We are then shown John Watson from a birds eye view which positions him as being vulnerable and isolated.

John is then shown in a room by himself in a long shot, showing the rooms sombre colour palette of dark blues as well as the distance between him and his walking stick. This is then further highlighted when johns gaze wanders towards the walking stick which shows his dependence and severity of his disability. In this same long shot you are shown his bed which is neatly made to the standard of which John would of had to made when he was in the army which shows the impact his time there has had on him and alludes to the idea of him having PTSD. Time is shown to have passed by having character dissolve in one frame to then another which also reflects his distantness from the outside world. During the dissolve transition a focus is shifted off of the character and is brought towards a small container of pills which shows the control that they have in his new life and highlight his disability.

The biblical reference to the garden of eden of the is shown through the shallow focus of the apple which then juxtaposes to the mug in which displays the British army logo and alludes to the idea of the devil tempted him to join the war much like the devil tempted Adam and Eve. It could also show the extreme difference between what his life used to be with the Mug showing his previous exciting life and the Apple now showing his dull and mundane life. The next shot shown is of him opening a draw in which seems like a mundane thing to show, however this then reveals a gun that is hidden in his drawer which displays the deep impact the military has on his life as he still does not feel safe. Other than the diegetic sounds of John moving objects around, there is no background music and it is mostly silent during this scene which makes the audience slightly uncomfortable and mimics how he feels. While John is seen on his own blog a sound bridge of his therapy session can be heard which shows you that the blog is used as treatment.

Within the scene of John and the Therapist, John is framed from a higher angle which belittles him and presents him as being weak. He is also in a more empty and darker area of the room which reflects how he feels distant from the outside world while the therapist is filmed with a window in the back drop and from a slightly low angle which shows the independence and power that the character has compared to John. The distantness John feels is also reflected in the diegetic sound of distant car horns and traffic which show his separation from the outside world and his disability to integrate back into society. Shot reverse shot is used but with more focus on Johns facial expressions rather then the Therapist which shows the importance of Johns feelings. The audience can connect with John when the shot Dollys into his face to show his emotions and foreshadows to later events which adds irony for the final frame.


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