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By on May 8, 2012, with 41 Comments

Last year I saw this Hollywood movie starring James Franco, called “127 Hours“. It goes about a mountain climber who becomes trapped under a boulder while canyoneering alone somewhere in Utah. In order to survive, he then resorts to desperate measures. It was an ok time-waster for me as I appreciate Franco’s talent, but there was this subtle optical illusion on the cover, one you could easily overlook if you don’t pay close attention. Thanks goes to Allan Russell, who pointed this out to me. Let me share the original poster (lacking promotional text and labels) which helps the illusion stand out more. Can you see it? Smart one, ayeh?

The poster for the film “127 hours” has a huge hour glass on it. The rock his hand is trapped under, possibly being a grain of sand, shows that his timing is ticking away – Allan

  • why me!?!?

    whoa! i didn’t see that at first.

  • WillTreaty

    Cool illusion (illusion?)

  • Ingrid


  • billyg420

    It looks like an Hourglass to me.

  • Zenbot

    Hated the movie, but I have to admit that is a very fitting optical illusion metaphor. I can’t really think of a fitting metaphor for “thinning of the herd” that would work in such an artistic display. Oh, oh, I know. The outline could be the shape of a phone for which he could have used to call someone and tell them where he was going, thus negating the need to ever tell his story in the first place.

  • Mark

    It took me a second, but in context, that is pretty sweet.

  • eric

    if you think it looks like an hourglass your reading too much into it – how else could you make a tapering point as in the movie
    its been done a million times in road runner – its a coincidence not an illusion

  • owen

    cool.first comment?

    • teamaznstar


  • Joshyboy

    is it an hour glass? or a guy trapped in a cliff (FIRST COMMENT)

  • Chris

    it actually looks like he is about to be sucked into a black hole.

  • Whofan14

    good time-waster? talent? you do know this was a true story right? the guy had to (unsuccessfully) cut his arm off to escape.

  • HeadNSpace

    Too subtle, because you may see it and think “well, why would they put that there?”, until you read the text under the picture, then you’d see why. But just seeing it, it seems out of place.

  • Steve

    I can’t see anything beyond the overly obvious hourglass shape. What am I missing???

  • amanda138a

    This film is based on a true story absolutely horrendous I cant even begin to imagine how he did it, nice subtle illusion I was looking for faces or boobies till I saw the blurb at the bottom

  • Sakura

    That’s awesome! It looks like an hourglass! :3

  • z2d4th

    It’s a sand time for me

  • Matjl

    I saw this almost as soon as I saw it in IGoogle

  • mibcal

    Time is of the essence!

  • Care Bear

    Sorry. I don’t see anyone’s hand under a rock. I’ll keep looking.


    Hour Glass, His time is running out, nice :)
    Good film too, you know it’s a real story…

  • Johnny

    Like sand through an hourglass this is 94 minutes of your life you will never get back if you choose to watch the movie.

    • eee efff geee

      HAHAHA! XD

  • samon53

    I think its wrong to say that its a Hollywood movie, its actually a British film co written, produced and directed by Danny Boyle. The studios that made it are also all British: Film4,
    Darlow Smithson Productions and HandMade Films. Yes and its also the true story of American rock climber Aron Ralston. Hope this can correct any mistakes a the matter.

  • clare

    127 hours was a great film……but i dont see the illusion?? or maybe i am but just not getting it?? someone point it for me?? please?? lol

  • Shino

    Haha, cool observation. The movie was alright :)

  • Kassidy

    cool, but i don’t see where his hand got trapped under the rock. All i see is him sitting above a boulder, and an hourglass. I’m just so confused. :-/

  • Paul

    The hourglass is completely obvious and hardly worth mentioning. Please tell me there’s something else… and pleast tell me what it is. I can’t see it.

  • http://nevermindpopfilm.blogspot.com Fitz

    Huh. It’s right there in your face and you don’t really see it until it’s mentioned.

  • auntem321

    OK, I’ve been looking since it was posted, but, other than the obvious hourglass and the rock in the middle as a grain of sand?, what amd I missing?

  • dw

    it is even more than that–
    the movie was about someone being caught in time–there is a “grain of sand” caught in the hourglass, freezing time for the proponent in the movie–while it adds to the illusion, it may be more symbolic.

  • Shashi

    where is the hand u r talking about?

  • http://almostreadytogoamish.blogspot.com/ rn

    Is that the film where the guy get’s wedged in a rock and cuts off his arm in order to survive? (with this sequence part of the film?) That doesn’t really sell a film for me.

  • bob

    There’s another illusion in the 127 Hours poster. I see a face in the cliff on the left.

  • http://www.onemorecup.com Jon-Paul

    I’ve got to admit it…after years of stunning, even spectacular illusions — I am surprised that you decided to put this one in. Sure I can see what appears to be an empty and rugged hourglass, yet, the “tell” in this art is not an illusion at all. It could just as well be said that there’s an arm less dude trying to cross a deep crevice in Canyon Country.

    I find it more interesting to focus on his right foot and all of the artists’ action there.


  • kryzix

    anyone notice that his hand aint trapped under the rock????

    • Lol

      Lol yes– I did…..

    • nushibubbl

      actually, this the part in the movie where he checks if the rock is loose, jumps, slips and then the rock falls on his arm idiot

  • nushibubbl

    i think it was a very interesting movie, i enjoyed watching something different.
    i gotta admit, cool hourglass!!

  • red

    I don’t get it

  • http://www.moillusions.com/2012/05/127-hours-movie-poster-illusion.html Milly

    It seems like time stoped because a giant peice of sand in an hourglass.