The Shawshank Redemption

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Frank Darabont, the director of the film ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ uses the language of film to create a text that develops our understanding of particular aspects of the world in which we live. Darabont does this by utilising a range of cinematic techniques executed by himself and his cinematic team. Darabont has shaped a film that has meaning and a film that focuses on many central ideas and messages that are evident in the world we live in today. Key ideas that Darabont focuses on in the film are, the damaging effects of institutions on humanity, Redemption and Friendship. In the opening sequence of the film Darabont presents a close examination of an important aspect of our world; the damaging effects of institutions on humanity. Prison life is shown as a depressing environment that drains the prisoners of personal dignity and hope. The human heart is dominated by the forces of oppression which is represented by the authorities of the prison, these are the guards and Warden Norton. Life is a constant struggle for Andy and his inmates; it is a battle between the powerless and the powerful. To display these effects of institutions on humanity, the cinematographer, Roger Deakins, uses a range of cinematic techniques. The extreme low angle shot of the prison door taken from Andy’s perspective as he enters the building confronts the viewers with an overwhelming, suffocating nature; it suggests no escape both physically and emotionally. Another technique used by Deakins is the lighting inside the prison, it is dark, dull, shadowy and all synthetic, no natural light is evident; this helps to act as a visual metaphor for the depressed emotional state the prisoners are going through. Darabont’s team use these techniques to show the extreme, damaging effects that institutions cause on humanity. From this viewers discover the psychological long-term effects of an environment of this type, they also discover that this aspect of society continues to be relevant and...
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