Contrast in the Shawshank Redemption

Topics: Frank Darabont, The Shawshank Redemption, Morgan Freeman Pages: 3 (816 words) Published: May 28, 2013
The Shawshank Redemption
‘Darabont's direction in The Shawshank Redemption emphasises contrasts and paradox: in ideas, in characters, in mood. How does he use cinematic techniques to achieve this?’

In The Shawshank Redemption Darabont uses cinematic techniques to illustrate contrast. Power & Weakness, Freedom & Oppression, Isolation & Companionship are the fundamental themes that differentiate from each other in the film. Darabont effectively utilises filming techniques to highlight these dominant themes, creating a movie that is both powerful and strong, producing a rich story that captures the viewers’ attention. Freedom and oppression in The Shawshank Redemption are two opposing themes which resonate throughout the film. A concept that Andy brings to Shawshank and to the prison is that freedom of the mind is the greatest and strongest freedom of all. Andy feels liberty through his thoughts and memories, and teaches the cynical men around him, especially Red, that although they are imprisoned, freedom comes from the mind and its ability to dream. As Red is commentating the scene of Andy playing opera to the prison, he talks about the effect that the music had on the men in Shawshank ‘and for the briefest of moments, every last man at Shawshank felt free’, and how even though they stood within the confines of Prison walls, the harmonising voices of the two ladies took them away for just a little while, to feel freedom once more. Although Andy remains free within, Brooks is a character who becomes accustomed and comfortable with prison life, so much so that when released, he is free from physical confinement, yet he has become so institutionalised that the world beyond the walls is more a prison than Shawshank ever was. Andy Dufresne develops through The Shawshank Redemption to gain power. When the viewer is initially introduced to Andy he seems small and weak compared to the self-assured lawyer and the powerful judge of the courtroom scene, yet...
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