27th June 2017

Shawshank Essay

Level 2 Shawshank Redemption Essay

Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted. The Film “Shawshank redemption” directed by Frank Darabont was an extremely popular film on its arrival to theatres around the globe in 1994.The film sees a smart banker being wrongly accused and sentenced to serve a double life sentence for killing his wife and her lover. Guilty of not being the greatest husband, Andy wears this heavily throughout his 20 years in Shawshank prison before his eventual escape. A major scene in the film is the rooftop scene, Andy and his friends are chosen to resurface the thar on the top of the building. When Andy overhears the guard talking about the inheritance from his brother and how it will be taxed majorly he approaches him and offers to protect his inheritance for one small expense, 3 beers for all his working friends.This scene gives the prisoners a sense of slight freedom. The second scene I will be analysing is the Opera singing scene where Andy locks himself in the office and plays the new vinyl he received with the books for the library over the loudspeaker in Shawshank. I will be examining sound and lighting throughout these two scenes. Frank Darabont showcases a feeling of hope for the prisoners in these two scenes. Darabont educates the audience and society that there is always hope even for the people with the least amount of freedom.

Only a free man has the right to a cold beer after a long day’s work in the sun. This is a sort of tradition in free society that does not affect men that are being punished in Shawshank for their sins. When the inmates are sitting down drinking their beers they feel like free men in the outside world. The director creates a sense of freedom by creating the sky an extremely bright white colour while the names of the prisoners chosen to work on the roof are being called. This makes the audience subconsciously understand how the prisoners are feeling whilst sipping away at their beers on the rooftop. In society we associate the colour white with clean and blank. The director has produced a white sky to subconsciously make the viewer realise that in that particular moment the prisoners have a clean slate, a fresh start .and more importantly the most freedom they have ever had behind bars.The sound in this certain part of the scene has a major role and affects the audience greatly. Upbeat country music is playing loudly whilst the bright white light is behind the prisoners who are excited about the next weeks work outside. This creates a positive vibe that is received well by the audience that have gotten to know the characters over the film. It is only natural to feel a sense of positivity when jolly country music plays in the background of the scene, this makes the audience feel at ease and feel a sense of happiness creating a positive vibe in this moment. Frank Darabont uses these simple sound and lighting techniques together to provide the prisoners a glance of freedom and hope that one day they will be free men again. The film techniques Darabont has used together, create a scene that emphasis and highlights what the inmates would be like in the outside world. It makes us think good positive thoughts about the characters as they are taking part in activity that every day civilians would. It makes the audience realise that simple things like having a beer on a hot day are taken for granted and are not a right and are only for the deserving. The producer gets the audience behind the prisoners and especially Andy, who kindly gifted his friends a glimpse of freedom and provided them with a sense of what living outside the prison walls feels like. These film techniques work incredibly well together as the country music compliments the clean white sky and provides the prisoners a sense of entitlement to be excited and happy.The overall purpose of this scene is to provide the audience with a better understanding about how much this short week of freedom means to the prisoners, and how it gives the criminals a glimmer of hope. It outlines the kindness of Andy to his pairs and the lengths he will go to become on the good side of the prison guards. This scene in the Shawshank redemption film is similar to a scene featured in the movie “drinking buddies” by “Joe Swanberg” where friends sit round on their rooftop drinking a few cold beers on a nice warm day.

In the second scene hope and freedom are majorly represented and displayed is the Opera singer scene. This part of the movie sees Andy find a vinyl and take his opportunity to listen to it. As the opera music comes on Andy is moved, the sun lights up his face and the lighting suddenly becomes brighter. The white light coming off Andy’s face represents cleanliness and freedom. This links to the way Andy is feeling in this moment, Free.This occurs at the same time the music comes on causing the audience to understand the atmosphere of the scene better, this makes the viewers realise the amount of freedom that Andy is experiencing. He then shows his generosity towards others and reveals the true hope he possesses by playing the vinyl over the prison speakers. This shows the audience that Andy has more hope of someday living a free life than the other prisoners because he knows his innocence. It shows the viewer the motivation Andy has of getting out of Shawshank prison. Darabont uses bright lighting and the sound of the opera music together to capture the audience’s attention in this moment. This also highlights just how special this is to Andy, and how free he feels in this moment. Darabont uses lighting and sound to dramatise the freedom being stripped from Andy when the guard smashes the door and turns the opera music off. The warden loses his patience and orders Andy to a month in the “hole” a jail cell with no light. The stripping of freedom is dramatised using sound and lightning together. The smashing of the window is extremely loud representing authority and brutality. At the same time as the bold sound effects occur the light in the room dimms making the room darker. This is smartly done by the director to create an atmosphere of being striped of freedom. In society we associate dark lighting with scary nasty things. Andy is being punished and is no longer happy which has a negative effect on the viewers who enjoy seeing the innocent inmate happy. The audience get a real insight on the type of person Andy is in this scene. The scene highlights Andy’s generosity and ability to share his positive attitude about one day having a future outside the walls of the prison. Frank Darabont’s purpose of this scene is to show Andy’s passion for keeping his hope alive and to subconsciously make the audience aware how motivated Andy is to escape Shawshank and find his freedom.
This scene teaches society that being positive and having hope always helps no matter what situation you are in. Andy being wrongly accused of two murders is an example of a terrible situation. Andy displays hope and is granted his freedom when he escapes Shawshank correction facility. The opera scene in the Shawshank redemption film is similar to the opera scene in the movie “philadelphia” directed by Jonathan Demme. It shows Tom Hanks being positively lifted by the music in an extremely dark time in his life. The opera music pulls Tom’s character out of the depths of sadness and self pity and shows to himself that there is hope and life is worth living. The two scenes show similarities because the music takes the characters out of the moment and provides them with a feeling of freedom and a sense of belonging in their darkest hours.

In the film “shawshank redemption” by Frank Darabont two main scenes highlight and show the audience the hope Andy has that one day he will be free from the concrete walls of Shawshank. The director uses opera music and country music in both these scenes to create a happy jolly atmosphere that keeps Andy and the audience in that moment of freedom. He also uses bright lighting and a white sky in both scenes to display the freedom, hope and happiness Andy is experiencing in these scenes. Darabont’s purpose in both scenes is to display and put forward to the audience that Andy has a lot of hope of someday getting out of the correction facility. The viewers realise Andy is giving himself and the other prisoners glimpses of freedom, as a reminder that one day they may live in normal society. The secret of happiness is freedom, the secret of freedom is courage.

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