The Novel. Stephen King published a book he entitled Different Seasons owing to the themes of the four novellas which make up the book. King used spring to allegorize hope, and Shawshank Redemption was born. One of the best features of the story is its ability to be put on film without losing its potency to make the audience laugh, shed tears, have a good time and believe in the human spirit at the same time.
The Director and Cast. It was 1994 and Frank Darabont gave the world a new perspective on hope. Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) and Red (Morgan Freeman) taught the audience a thing or two about hope which never dies even in the face of darkest of hours. The film is amazing in a lot or reasons. One of which is Darabonts ability to use Stephen Kings story and make it his own without ever disrupting the original plot: watching the movie felt like looking through the mind of Darabont as he reads the novel.
The way the Andy looks, the way Shawshank feels like it is everything Stephen King imagined. The film has both elements of drama and comedy. The film tackles a serious topic, life in prison, but was never boring because it has lots comic reliefs. I find the funny parts important for the development of the story because it makes the audience understand life inside prison like: what makes them laugh? Or what do they find interesting? These things help the audience a lot in understand their situation without ever making it funny or overly serious and brutal.
The Story. Andy Dufresne was a banker wrongly accused of double homicide, his wife and her lover, and was sent to Shawshank Prison. Inside he meets Red, a man who according to him; can get you anything. After some time his banking expertise was noticed by the prison warden. He helped the warden in his financial scams in return for protection and allowing him to build his own library. After 20 years, Andy Dufresne disappeared from Shawshank with every penny the warden earned in his scams and a hole in his cell.
The Film. Shawshank redemption was set in the forties. This can be proved by the posters such as that of Rita Hayworths, the black and white movies, the phonograph which got Andy in the hole and the red convertible in the latter part of the film. Tom Robbins who played the main character is very convincing. At times he look likes a kind sheep who cant hurt a fly, at others a prison inmate and at certain times a man with enough guile to can get away with anything. On the other hand Morgan Freeman flawlessly performed his role as Red. The way they speak, the way they think and move all fit to make them look like people who actually spent time in prison.
Story Telling. One of the best forms of story telling at least if the movie tackles a serious and sensitive topic is by narration. Shawshank Redemption uses this technique in its full potential. The narration was of Red, the most qualified character to tell Andys story, helped a lot in order for the audience to understand the people, places and way of life in their time and place. The narration also helps in understanding who the main character really is. Using a narration lessened the need for many dialogues, which makes the movie the kind to be felt and understood and not one to ponder.
The Shot. The most amazing shot found on the film is the audience first glimpse at Shawshank. Its the amazing aerial view that first reveals the prison in all its bleak glory, with the army of prisoners streaming across the yard below to greet the arriving bus. Its a wonderful cinematic moment, one that seems to suspend time even as it plunges us breathlessly to this new and horrible world (Darabont).
The Music. In order to make the audience feel, one must not only use proper shots. Music one of the integral parts of film helps in more than one way than hearing a dialogue. Whenever an important moment arrives, a close-up shot of Andy is usually used to show how Dufresne felt at the time.
This technique together with the proper music helps a lot in bringing to audiences the right kind of emotion to be felt. The film achieves this in many instances: the heavy feeling when Andy is bombarded by the lawyer and his rhetorics at the start of the movie, the sadness and uncertainty when Shawshank was first seen, the meaning of simple joys when they applied tar on a roof and contentment and freedom when he used the phonograph.
The Clincher. One of the pleasures of modern day life is watching a worthwhile film. Shawshank Redemption is a masterpiece for a lot of reasons. It appeals to a lot of audience because it has elements of a who-done-it, it is funny, sad, memorable, serious and wonderful. It teaches us a lot about who we are, how much good or harm we can do. It tells us that when the darkest of hours come to our life, and they do come, it is not yet the end. There is always a way out. You just need to believe. And nothing can extinguish hope. Above all things nothing can extinguish hope.
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