The Shawshank Redemption Critique
The Shawshank redemption is a film about time, patience and loyalty. It was released in 1994 and was adapted from the book “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption” and was turned into this film which is directed by Frank Darabont. It begins with Andy Dufrense (played by Tim Robbins), a successful lawyer who finds him wife having an affair with another man, and is then accused of killing them both. Although he is innocent, in court he is accused as being guilty and gets two years life sentence in Shawshank prison. He finds life in prison very difficult and tough but as time goes on he builds friendships and also gains respect from others.
One of the main characters in the film is Andy Dufrense. Tim Robbins was born in West Covina, California on the 16th of October 1958. He has appeared in many films including “Bull Durham” and “The Little Prince”. Tim Robbins has also directed, written and produced many films such as “Dead Man Walking”, which for he was nominated for Best Director at the Oscars. He also won Best supporting actor for his work in the film “mystic river”. Another main character is Red (played by Morgan Freeman) Morgan Freeman was born in Memphis, Tennessee, and 1st June 1937.
His first credited film appearance was in 1971’s Who Says I Can’t Ride a Rainbow. He then won the award for best supporting actor for the film “million dollar baby” and award for best actor for “driving miss daisy”. Other characters include Warden Norton (played by Bob Gunton), Heywood (played by Clancy Brown), and Brooks Hatlen (played by James Whitmore). Andy’s journey begins when he arrives in Shawshank prison in 1947. While watching Andy and the other new arrivals Red reveals his first impressions of Andy. He thinks that he is weak and will be the first one to crack.
This led to Red avoiding him and it was only after two years that Andy finds a friendship with Red, a black marketer who had been in Shawshank many years before Andy. They became very strong friends and we see this throughout the film. For example when Andy gets beaten up incredibly brutally Red and some of the others collect rocks for him that could be tuned into chess pieces as Red knew Andy liked playing chess. Also, when Andy gives Red a harmonica for his 20 year anniversary in Shawshank and to cheer him up after his parole rejection.
As the film goes on Andy starts to get both the prisoners and guard on his side, after he offers to help one guard in a tax problem in exchange for beer for everyone. From then on Andy is always working on something. He improves the library, helps other prisoners to study and also does all the money work for the warden. Throughout this film many themes are shown, but the most important one would be friendship. This is because as the film goes on we see friendships being built. For example, Brooks had a very strong friendship with his pet bird and also the friendship between Red and Andy which builds as time goes on.
This plays a very important party in the film as it makes a big difference to Andy’s and Red’s lives. Although they both come from different backgrounds they end up becoming very strong friends and also share the same dream. Red supports Andy during his time in Shawshank and they also both have the dream of going to the beaches when they are released from Shawshank. As time goes on they also build trust in each other. Another main theme is hope. This is because Andy is innocent and he hopes that one day he will be free. In the end, he escapes this shows that anything is possible.
The film has a very predictable yet incredible storyline. It also has many dramatic scenes that make the film good. One of these is when Brooks Hatlen commits suicide after being let out. This is very strange as usually being let out of prison is a happy experience and you are then excited and glad that you are no longer locked up and are being watched and you are now free. However in this case Brooks could not handle the freedom of being out in the world again as he was so used to the routine life he had in prison for so long.
Life in prison was good for him as he was the librarian and was respected by the others in Shawshank. When he was out of prison this was very different as he was not treated differently to anyone other person. This made him feel as if he had nothing to live for and he ended up killing himself. This is very dramatic as it shows the effects that being in prison can have on people, this is called ‘institutionalised’ Another dramatic scene is when Andy puts a piece of classical music on and turns all the speakers on in the prison for everyone to hear. Once everyone hears it they stop what they were doing and just stand and listen.
This shows how they were shocked they were to hear it as they had not heard music in so long. It allowed them to feel free for that little moment it was on for. In the end Red also gets released from Shawshank and meets up with Andy. When showing this part relaxing calm music and sound effects such as waves from the sea is played in the background, this sets the atmosphere as also being calm and peaceful. Also, throughout the film red is the narrator and this allows him to speak for all the prisoners. In the end this helps sets the atmosphere as his voice is very mellow.
They also show a beach which implies the feeling of freedom which is what Andy and Red did not have whilst being in Shawshank prison. The film techniques used in the film show power very well by using low angled shots as if the in-mates are nothing and over powered. Also, when Brooks hangs himself the camera only focuses on his legs which are just hanging in the air. It then zooms out to show his whole body and also shows how he has hung himself. When Andy escapes from Shawshank, a long shot is used which shows him standing in an open field in the rain which suggests he is now free.
Another long shot is also used at the end of the film when he is on the beach. This long shot is used to show the ocean which also implies he is free. The music in the film changes as the film goes on. When Andy first arrives in Shawshank prison it 50’s music and as time goes on it gets more modern. This is done to show that he was in there for a very long time. Although the film was of an excellent standard, it did have some flaws. One being that it was very predictable as from the beginning it was obvious that Andy was going to escape from Shawshank prison.
Another being that some parts did not seem realistic, like no one noticing the tunnel Andy had made to escape. Also, that it was too long and occasionally drags on. Overall, “The Shawshank Redemption” is a wonderful film to watch. It of full of excitement and always leaves you wanting to know what going to happen next. It is a very emotional, powerful and inspiring film. It is one that you would definitely want to watch. This film makes you feel very involved and allows you to relate to their circumstances. It is definitely a film that deserves 10/10 and one you would want to watch over and over.
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