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The Shawshank Redemption Essay

3303 words - 13 pages

The Shawshank Redemption

The Shawshank Redemption is a film based on a book by Stephen King set
in an American prison starting in 1947. The film looks at the lives of
the two main characters Andy Dufresne and Ellis Redding, their
existence within the harsh prison system and their unlikely
friendship. In this piece I will explain how these two central
characters are represented in the film and how the director Frank
Darabont is able to use different techniques of film making to enhance
scenes and portray different aspects and emotions.

Andy Dufresne is the first central character we meet in the film. He
initially appears as a respectable middle class, well educated, white
man, but somewhat emotionless. He appears very calm, almost boring
unlikely to do anything extraordinary (except perhaps murder his
wife). It is this first impression, which sets the scene for the film,
so the viewers are even more surprised by how this character changes,
having already prejudged Andy as a dull and quiet man. Ellis Redding
(Red) the other main figure is an unlikely friend for a man from Andy
Dufresne’s background. Red is a middle-aged, black, career criminal
who much later admits to being “the only guilty man in Shawshank”. He
is the old lag, a “man who knows how to get things”, a man who knows
that his appearance in front of the white male fifty-something parole
board is just another experience to be endured in Shawshank. But for
all that Red is fair, trusted, and has a certain amount of respect
from other prisoners. Reds’ character does evolve during the film, but
the changes are subtler and not such a shock to the audience.

The opening scene we later learn is a flashback to the night of the
murders showing Andy in his car sitting outside the house where his
wife and her lover are about to be murdered. The director uses light
and sound to build the scene. There is singing in the background with
the first credits, and then the same music comes from the radio in
Andy’s car. Then there are sound effects for crickets and an owl
coming from outside the car. This creates a certain stillness, which
makes you realise something is about to happen. As Andy get his gun
from the glove compartment of the car there is more music. This time
the music is only instrumental and is used to build suspense.
Everything about the way the flashback scene and Court room scene have
been edited together points to Andy being guilty of the murders. Sound
effects are very important in the flashbacks, as there is no talking.
As Andy opens the bag with bullets and the gun in the bullets knock
together making a tingling noise which is louder than the background
music as it is the only action happening. He then opens a glass bottle
with very louder sound effect being used to show that this is
important. The instrumental...

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