Technical Review of "The Shawshank Redemption" (Comment on the techniques and themes used in the movie)

Essay by matthewlayHigh School, 11th gradeA+, June 2006

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"The Shawshank Redemption" is a 1994 film which is your basic "prison" movie. I was apprehensive and sceptical at first about the movie but while watching I found the movie has many hidden messages. These messages, or motifs, have been done subliminally and you cannot pick them out on your first viewing. There are many techniques used such as themes/messages, colours, music, lighting and hostility which make the film gain a more meaningful message.

"The Shawshank Redemption" is about a young banker named Andy Dufresne who has been sent to serve a life imprisonment at Shawshank prison for murdering his ex-wife and her lover. At first when he is sent to prison, he gets hassled by the guards and the other prisoners. He makes a friend in Ellis 'Red' Redding, who becomes his best friend. As the movie progresses Andy gains the respect and admiration of the prisoners and guards when he helps one of the guards.

The film has many themes in it. The main ones are barriers, corruption, and hope. Throughout the movie Andy faces many barriers, both mentally and physically. The physical barrier is mainly the prison itself, which prevents him from living his dreams. The mental barriers are more confronting. At the beginning Andy is trapped in the mental barrier of losing his wife who had cheated on him. The walls of the prison library were old and worn like the spirits of the prisoners, but when it was renovated the prisoners spirits rose and so did their hope. Another barrier were the bars of the prison. The bars would appear to show imprisonment and usually were noticeable in times of despair, such as when Andy arrived at Shawshank prison.

Corruption was featured mainly in the running of the prison. Warden Norton claims himself to be...