Analysis of two films: "The Shawshank Redemption" and "The Hurricane"

Essay by brookayA-, August 2007

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Feature films, like any other text, aim to influence or challenge an audience on the basis of their attitudes and values. To achieve this, most feature films use central characters who share the basic values of a particular target audience. For example, The Shawshank Redemption, directed by Frank Darabont, uses the character of Andy Dufresne to represent values such as friendship, freedom and hope. Andy is wrongly convicted of killing his wife and her lover. Once in the prison, he is seen as a God-like figure who brings hope and the feeling of freedom to the prisoners in isolated Shawshank. Similarly, the character of Rubin Carter, in The Hurricane, directed by Norman Jewison, represents many values such as freedom and justice. Rubin an, African American, is also wrongly convicted of murder. The film traces his unjust and unequal treatment throughout his life. Both feature films use characterisation and film language in presenting the central characters either negatively or positively.

This in turn, assists in the acceptance or rejection of values put forward by the characters. Both Andy and Rubin are characters presented in a positive light and thus, their values represent ones shared and admired by the contemporary audience.

Education and intelligence are highly valued in the modern world today. For most people, education represents a sense of security, a way of getting somewhere in life. Through the use of characterisation and film techniques, this value is mirrored by the central character of Andy, in The Shawshank Redemption. Whilst in prison, Andy uses his education and intelligence to an advantage, manipulating the guards and warden. By doing this, he stands out from the typical criminals and he forms casual relationships with them. This, ironically, leads to his eventual redemption and freedom. Andy's value of education is also so strong...