Shawshank Redemption

Shawshank Redemption

Shawshank Redemption Sarmad Syed Hum. 150 October 27, 2011 Hilary Clay Hicks Shawshank Redemption is a film, directed by Frank Darabont adapting it for screen, based on Stephen king novella “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank redemption. ” This film takes the audience on a journey of despair and hope of individuals in Shawshank prison. Constant routine, forced conformity, power abuse and the struggle of hope. The use of lighting, camera angles, music and different shots are accounted for in Shawshank prison.

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Every prison scene is framed by bars and dark, grays or blues as backdrop as this effect indicates the cruel nature of life and the control of Shawshank within the lives of every individual. The Shawshank Redemption opens with Andy Dufresne being interrogated and sentenced for the murder of his wife and her lover. During the interrogation Mr. Dufresne flashes back to the night of the alleged murders. The flashbacks show Mr. Dufresne reaching into his glove compartment and pulling out a gun and bullets while sitting outside of his wife’s lover’s home.

The interrogating attorney accused Mr. Dufresne of shooting his wife and her lover, but the flash backs do not show him using his gun. During the interrogation Mr. Dufresne states that on his way home to ‘sleep it off’, he threw his gun into the Royal River; the attorney states that after searching the river for three days the gun was never recovered. The evidence provided in the trial was enough for Mr. Dufresne to be sentenced to two consecutive life terms, one for each of his victims. While seeing Mr. Dufresne entering the prison, his innocence or guilt is still questionable.

The majority of scenes have no background music as the impact of silence represents the purpose in the lack of life. It is the Warden’s office where Andy locks himself in and plays Italian Opera over the P. A System. This is the only time in which music dominates a scene. This proves to us that Andy is different and shows that there is still hope and freedom within him. The next mise-scene that made Andy and his co-workers (fellow prisoners) feel like men again was the roof top scene. The key scene studied was “Beer on the Roof” from Shawshank Redemption.

This scene reflects both the ideas and features of this film. The ideas in this film are that innocent people can be institutionalized, institutions work on fear and violence which does not fulfill the aim of institutions and that compliance can be achieved through violence and corruption. In the scene “Beer on the Roof” the setting has moved from inside to a building near the perimeter where it feels as if it is outside. For the first time you see the green of grass and trees in the background. You get a new aspect of the jail from the grey, oppressive, towering walls to the openness and brightness of the roof.

A characterization is a major technique used in this scene. This scene is the turning point for Andy’s life in prison. In the beginning Andy was alone in the laundry looking depressed. He has been in prison for 2 years and has been repeatedly beaten and raped by “the sisters”. While on the roof Andy keeps listening in on the guards’ conversation. He ends up talking about tax schemes with the chief guard. He breaks a deal that he’ll help the chief guard with his tax if each of his co-workers can have 3 beers each.

The scene ends with Andy watching the other men drink with a strange smile on his face because he knows he’s done something better. The camera angles in this scene add to the ideas of the film. The scene is characterized by the use of wide shots which show the contrast between the expanse of the roof and the confinement of the jail. The other shot that is used to effect is the close up of Andy when he has been threatened by the guard, hanging over the edge of the roof and at the end of the scene when Andy is smiling. The lighting in this scene is another major technique used to add to the film.

The lighting is bright, sunny, clear blue skies in contrast to most of the scenes, which are shot within the prison walls where the lighting is grey, brown and somber. The music in this scene starts off as slow and sad and as the scene progresses the music gets a lighter, brighter tone. Language is also a major technique used throughout the film and is shown in this scene with the use of the narrator, Red, which fills us in with the information we do not see in the film. There is a contrast between the language of the guards who are authoritative, loud and bulling and Andy who is polite, cultured and clever.

All these techniques used in this scene and throughout the film are used to give a stronger impact to the film and to add depth to the storyline, creating a memorable film and a never forgotten story. The wide angle, establishing shot of the surrounding showing the true beauty of nature in bloom. This effect gives the idea to viewers that Shawshank prison exists to restrain individuals from experiencing the outer world, and the beauty of nature again, but live in a place of slavery. Through out the film there has been a main theme or symbol, which is another use of language.

The symbol of Jesus Christ. Andy represents Jesus Christ as freedom and hope was a main factor. His out-stretched hands after tumbling out of human wastage pipe represent, Jesus Christ on the cross. The last judgment when the Warden learns his fate, “Salvation lies within” Andy Dufresne writes set in the book of exodus. The use of film language has been a main factor in contributing to this film “The Shawshank Redemption” proved a point in scenes of power, abuse and the struggle of hope in which Andy tries to prove his innocence. It is important to state and to pass along that hope is everything.


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