The Shawshank Redemption Movie Review Essay

The Shawshank Redemption Movie Review

The Shawshank Redemption Movie Review

HUM/150
December 16, 2014

The Shawshank Redemption
The Shawshank Redemption (1994) is an outstanding typical “hybrid film of both the crime
and drama genre” (Clifton, 2009). The film’s director Frank Darabont adapted Stephen
King’s 1982 novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption. The film relies heavily on
great storytelling, acting, sound and editing to engulf the audience throughout the entire
movie. The films debut in the box office was average at best but through word-of-mouth has
gained popularity and became one of the best movies of all time.

The Film and Analysis
The movie has some very interesting narrative elements. The film is about a man named Andy

Dufresne who is wrongfully convicted of murdering his wife and her lover. He is ultimately
sentenced to serve two consecutive life sentences at Shawshank Prison. The film was set in
1947-1966 and follows his experiences over the next 20 years at the prison. He has a very
difficult time at first, but eventually befriends an inmate named Ellis “Red” Redding, who
is also the narrator of the movie. Red was sentenced to life in Shawshank prison at the
age of 19 and is known in the prison as the man who can get anything. Throughout the film,
we see the movie through the eyes of Red, who serves as the narrator that leads to a
surprising ending.

In analyzing the film, I find it to be a story of hope with religious themes of freedom
and resurrection. The director uses powerful themes of patience, hope, survival,
friendship, redemption and in the end salvation to develop the characters. The use of
effective cinematography, music, lighting and deep symbolism greatly assist enhance the
feeling of the story.

“Get busy living or get busy dying” is a symbolic quote by Andy in that it makes us
remember just how precious life is. The use of dark lighting and low angles are used to
film the gray and depressed prison scenes, thereby giving them an ominous feel of misery.
This shapes the audiences appreciation of the inmates’ desperate need of hope. The
sunlight surrounding the inmates on the rooftop scene appeals to fundamental human
empathy. The scene allows the audience to understand the pleasure and liberation felt by
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Word Count:
786
Page Count:
5

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