The Shawshank Redemption

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Analyse how the opening of your studied text effectively introduced a key idea or a main character

In the film, The Shawshank Redemption directed by Frank Darabont, the opening scene effectively introduces a key idea that the prison is capable of taking away prisoners' identities by removing away any control they have of their lives, and their rights as human beings. The director makes clever use of the techniques of camera shots, lighting, costume and dialogue to show the prison's destructive effect on prisoners' lives.

When Andy is being transported to prison, the director uses high angle camera shots to introduce the idea that the prisoners' lives are completely under the power of the prison. When a new group of prisoners arrives at Shawshank, the high angle camera shot shows the perspective of the guards in the towers with their guns aiming down at the older prisoners in the yard. This shows that the prisoners are powerless, and they look like a flock of sheep far below. There is a sense that the prisoners' lives are worth little more than sheep. The director also portrays this idea of powerlessness with a long shot down the length of the bus from Andy's point of view when entering Shawshank. Andy cannot see anything but guards blocking his view, signifying that by limiting and narrowing his view of the world, the prison will take away Andy's power to make decisions and that he is trapped. The director shows the audience the dangers of losing freedom and control by being imprisoned at Shawshank. They will lose their identity as they are removed from the world they knew before.

The director reinforces the idea of loss of identity at Shawshank by using lighting and costume when Warden Norton lays down the rules to the new arrivals at Shawshank. When they line up, the light from behind puts all the prisoners' faces in shadow, making them indistinguishable from each other. This darkness represents the prison's removal of their identities and past...
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