Final Film Critique

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  • Topic: The Shawshank Redemption, Morgan Freeman, Roger Deakins
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Final Film Critique
Richard Hogan
ENG 225: Introduction to Film
October 25, 2011

Final Film Critique
The movie, The Shawshank Redemption (1994), is based on a character Andy Dufresne. Andy is a young and successful banker who is sent to Shawshank Prison for murdering his wife and her secret lover. His life is changed drastically upon being convicted and being sent to prison. He is sent to prison to serve a life term. Over the 20-years in prison, Andy retains optimism and eventually earns the respect of his fellow inmates. He becomes friends with Red, and they both comfort and empathize with each other while in prison. The story has a strong message of hope, spirit, determination, courage, and desire. Eventually, Andy and Red achieve their own dreams of freedom from isolation, from law, from racism and hate. The film’s storytelling, acting, cinematography, editing, sound, and other critical analysis is fantastic and makes for an outstanding movie. I will explain how all of these cinematic components contribute to one of my all-time favorite movies, and how the poignant message of hope and freedom are conveyed through the storyline.

The Shawshank Redemption is a Stephen King inspired motion picture. It is a production of Castle Rock Pictures and in my opinion is one of the best filmed adapted versions of Stephen King books. The screenplay is written by Frank Darabont based on “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption” by Stephen King. The cast of the movie is Tim Robbins (as Andy Dufresne), Morgan Freeman (as Ellis Boyd Redding, aka Red), Bob Gunton (as the crooked warden), William Sadler (as an associate prisoner), Clancy Brown (as a cruel guard), and Gil Bellows (as Tommy Williams). It was directed by Frank Darabont and produced my Niki Marvin. Additionally, the cinematography is by Roger Deakins, and the music is by Thomas Newman.

The film provides some interesting narrative elements. The plot is centered on a wrongly convicted man who is sent to the Shawshank prison for life and follows his experiences while in the prison. In the setup (act one), the film is set during the years of 1947-1966. Andy is sent to prison despite claiming his innocence. He has a tough time at first but then eventually starts to meet friends. The film is narrated by Red. Red is a lifelong prisoner of the Shawshank Prison since the age of 19 and is considered a man who can get anything you need. Throughout the film he gets prisoners cigarettes, tools, and food. Eventually, Andy meets Red because he is in need of tool that carves and shapes stones (rock hammer). The two eventually befriend each other. The second act, the conflict during this time Andy has to fight off gay gangs within the prison walls who want to rape him. He does a good job of fighting them off but eventually needs help from the prison guards. Andy befriends the prison guards by doing all of their taxes and in return they provide him with protection. This now leads to the warden wanting the services of Andy to keep the books of the prison “neat”. Andy realizes that the warden is up to “shady” business practices and that the warden is using him for his cheap labor. Andy does about 20-year of prison time when a character named Tommy arrives to the prison. Tommy holds the key to Andy’s freedom because he is in knowledge that Andy is actually innocent (based on a story he was told when he roomed with another prisoner). The warden finds this out about Tommy plan to leak the information to the public and Tommy killed because the warden doesn’t want Andy to every leave the prison because of how much money Andy is making the warden for his dishonest business deals. The third act or resolution is that eventually Andy ends up escaping from prison by digging a hole in the wall that must of took about 20-years. Andy sets up the warden to get arrested by the FBI and Andy takes about $370,000 dollars of the warden’s dirty...
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