Written and directed by Frank Darabont. The Shawshank Redemption. Unit Outline. Analyse film image and sequence in detail Understand the way film language creates setting and character, and manipulates our responses Describe how verbal and visual features are combined for different purposes
In 1946, a banker named Andy (Tim_Robbins) is convicted of a double murder, even though he stubbornly proclaims his innocence. He's sentenced to a life term at the Shawshank State Prison in Maine, where another lifer, Ellis "Red" Redding (Morgan_Freeman), picks him as the new recruit most likely to crack under the pressure. The ugly realities of prison life are quickly introduced to Andy: a corrupt warden, sadistic guards led by Capt. Byron Hadley, and inmates who are little better than animals, willing to use rape or beatings to insure their dominance. But Andy does not crack: he has the hope of the truly innocent, which (together with his smarts) allow him to prevail behind bars. He uses his banking skills to win favour with the warden and the guards, doing the books for Norton's illegal business schemes and keeping an eye on the investments of most of the prison staff. In exchange, he is able to improve the prison library and bring some dignity and respect back to many of the inmates, including Red.
The scene where he arranges the bottles of suds for the guys while tarring the roof. Both these scenes make Andy and the inmates feel human again. Shawshank has their bodies but it does not have their souls.
There are many controversial issues dealt with in this film. These range from abuse of prisoners to loyalty and friendship. The following is a list of some of the most important themes touched on in the movie.
This can be taken from as much as a quarter of a mile away, and is generally used as a scene-setting, establishing shot. It normally shows an EXTERIOR, eg the outside of a building, or a landscape, and is often used to show scenes of thrilling action eg in a war film or disaster movie. There will be very little detail visible in the shot, it's meant to give a general impression rather than specific information.
This is the most difficult to categorise precisely, but is generally one which shows the image as approximately "life" size ie corresponding to the real distance between the audience and the screen in a cinema (the figure of a man would appear as six feet tall). This category includes the FULL SHOT showing the entire human body, with the head near the top of the frame and the feet near the bottom. While the focus is on characters, plenty of background detail still emerges: we can tell the coffins on the right are in a Western-style setting, for instance. A long shot is used to stress the environment or setting of a scene.
E.g. Darabont uses the harmonica as a symbol of hope. Andy gives the harmonica to Red, representing the hope and inner strength he is helping Red to find. It helps s to understand that our friends can aid us in holding on to our self-belief, even in times of struggle, like Red’s long prison sentence. When Red blows it we know Andy is helping him hold on to whatever hope he has left. As Andy’s gift to Red, the harmonica is a clear development of the symbolism established in the aria scene. Here Andy plays The Marriage of Figaro over the prison intercom, when “for a moment, every last man in Shawshank felt free”. Here the power of music represents the power of the individual to inspire. We see the same inspiration when Red, framed in a tight close-up in his cell in Shawshank’s inly blackness, holds the gleaming harmonica in his hands. We desperately want him to play it- he “played a mean harmonica once’- and the single, forlorn note he blows shows us just how close Shawshank has come to breaking his spirit.
In groups you will write an analysis of the opening scene. While watching the scene take notes on the following:
“How did it go?” asks one inmate.
“Same ol’ shit, different day.”
“I’m up for rejection next week.”
Statement implies that something will happen to change Red’s opinion, so creating tension.