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The Shawshank Redemption. Introduction to the prison - setting. Red’s First Parole Hearing Sound of iron prison bars opening. Close up of the bars sliding open. We feel a great sense of imprisonment.

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the shawshank redemption

The Shawshank Redemption

Introduction to the prison - setting

Red’s First Parole Hearing
  • Sound of iron prison bars opening. Close up of the bars sliding open. We feel a great sense of imprisonment.
  • Point of view long shot shows a row of five sombre, grey looking older men sitting at a table.
  • Medium shot of Red fiddling with his hat. He seems nervous – but what is he nervous of: leaving or staying? Red doesn’t know how to conduct himself.
  • Red is in the light – foreshadows that he may have hope
“I learnt my lesson. I can honestly say I’m a changed man. No longer a threat to society. That’s the
  • God’s honest truth” – Sounds rehearsed, he’s said this before, telling them what they want to hear.
Sound of the stamp with a close up of the word ‘Rejected’.
  • Red walks out of the parole hearing and there is a level medium close up of Red. The walls have some light on them – they don’t appear so daunting; this can be contrasted with Andy entering the Shawshank. The light is focused on the prison – this is where Red feels safe/ at home.
  • “There must be a con like me in every prison in America” – Red is a ‘big man’ in the prison. He has respect from the others. A businessman/ entrepreneur. People rely on him.
Andy Entering Shawshank
  • Sweeping overhead shot of the prison shows gothic buildings – the prison seems threatening and all encompassing, lifeless (drains prisoners of hope and freedom). Music is sombre and slow moving – like time in prison. There is dull lighting and everything, including the prison uniform is grey. The prisoners seem helpless.
  • The sweeping overhead shot allows us to get a sense of the atmosphere of the prison – foreboding, daunting, draws the life out of you.
  • Voice over – Red is the voice of authority and knowledge on Andy. This voiceover allows us to learn details about Andy and his background that are an integral part of the film
“Andy came to prison in early 1947”
  • Zoom in to a medium close up of Andy shows that he still appears to be devoid of emotion. He is not giving anything away.
  • A series of point of view shots shows what the prison has in store for the new prisoners – The black-cloaked guards waiting for them and the prisoners lined up like caged animals banging and shaking the wire fence. They are threatening ‘Fish’ ‘Bitch’
  • Low angle point of view shot of Andy walking into the prison show the great grey walls suffocating and enveloping him. It is a threatening place that swallows you whole – also we get the idea that it is impossible to escape.
Power and Corruption
  • Introduced to the Warden Norton and Hedley
  • Medium close up reveals that they are dressed in dark colours and are both framed by dark/ shaded background light. Contrast with the prisoners. Straight away we get the hypocrisy and corruption of the authorities:
  • “Put your faith in the Lord; your ass belongs to me”
  • He talks about religion and God, respecting these things and then stands by and allows Hedley to beat a prisoner.
  • Lighting contrast between the ‘corrupt’ screws and prisoners
  • Shadow-like long shot of Hedley beating up the new prisoner – they look almost demonic
  • “I swear by God and sunny Jesus” – blasphemy, hypocrisy