Explain at least two ways in which ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ entertains the audience and keeps them interested. The epic movie, ‘The Shawshank Redemption’, directed by Frank Darabont is a compelling film that has entertained and kept audiences interested for years. The ways in which the film does this is through the use of emotive language, contrasting of colours (lighting), settings, effective camera angles, sound effects and engaging music. These techniques are effectively used to convey the ideas/themes of hope, courage, corruption, power of the mind vs. ower of the authority and many more. In the opening scene of the film Andy Dufrene, the main character in the film, is in a court room being trialed for the murder of his wife and her lover. In this scene Andy is portrayed as a cold, emotionless, heartless man. This is accomplished through the use of emotive language by the prosecuting lawyer. The lawyer points out to the jury that the killer, presumably Andy, fired six bullets reloaded the gun and then fired another two bullets into the couple. This was done to assist the lawyer in making Andy look like a cold-hearted person.
Back-and-forth close-up camera shots of Andy and lawyer add intensity to the scene, while the lawyer questions Andy. Andy’s responses are short, almost sarcastic, and seem to show no remorse if he indeed did commit the double murder. The constant flashbacks to the night in question reinforce and give the viewer a visual image of the details being given by the district attorney. In the flashbacks, there are close-up camera shots of Andy taking a gun out of his glove-box and loading it, with a bottle of alcohol on his lap half finished.
A low-camera shot of Andy’s foot as he gets out of his car, shows that he is inebriated as he is stumbling, it also shows Andy’s alcohol bottle shatter when he drops it, as he is walking towards the house. The music that is played in the background of both the trial and flashbacks is eerie to add a dramatic effect to the scene. When the judge informs Andy he is guilty, the camera is zooming in to a close-up camera shot of Andy’s face. His eyes open up wide in shock and disbelief as he knows he is innocent.
It then goes to a black screen as Andy shuts his eyes, which symbolizes Andy’s feelings and emotions, it also symbolizes what prison is like, a dark, cold, mean place and that is where Andy is headed next. These effective camera angles coupled with the engaging music and emotive and involving language all do their part in entertaining and keeping the audience interested by creating suspense and making them feel like they are a part of the action. In the scene that is referred to as the ‘Rooftop scene’, Andy Dufrene and some other inmates including Red, are tarring the roof of a building as part of the prison’s community service ‘scheme’.
At the beginning of the scene it shows the audience a bucket being raised onto the roof from a bird’s eye view, conveying the height at which the scene is set. The audience is then shown a long shot of the inmates tarring the roof, while in the background you can hear Officer Byron Hadley telling his co-workers of his inheritance money tax problems. The audience then sees a mid-camera shot of the circle of guards, and Hadley is walking and talking as though the money is a burden. It then returns to a mid-camera shot of Andy, who has stopped tarring the roof and is now considering approaching Hadley to assist him with his ‘problem’.
With a firm, fearful tone Red attempts to stop Andy approaching Hadley, as he believes no good could come out of it. However, Andy is determined and courageous and decides to approach Hadley anyway. Andy asks provocative questions such as “Do you trust your wife? ” to get Hadley’s attention. This works and Hadley begins to shove Andy towards the edge of the building. A bird’s eye view of the action is shown to depict how high Andy would fall from, if Hadley were to push him off to add suspense. While being shoved to the edge, Andy hurriedly spurts out how Hadley could save his money.
This is a prime example of the theme, power of the mind vs. power of the authority, as Andy used his knowledge of money and articulate language to manipulate Hadley. In return for Andy’s services to Hadley, Andy requests some beers for his fellow inmates. This relaxed scene of the inmates enjoying a drink calms the audience down after an intense scene which nearly saw Andy killed. This scene also sets up the rest of the movie as Andy has now been discovered as someone of value and can be used to do many jobs.
This however was a part of Andy’s plan all along which involved a lot of wishful thinking and more importantly, hope. In conclusion, the film ‘The Shawshank Redemption’, directed by Frank Darabont is such a fantastic, well-known movie, now studied by many students in senior English due to its astounding ability to convey a variety of themes including hope, corruption and courage, through the use of effective camera angles, involving and emotive language, well-timed sound effects and engaging music.