Shawshank Redemption Analysis Essay, Research Paper
” Shawshank Redemption”
The “Shawshank Redemption” truly one of the finest films of all time, it has no flaws. It was a gripping presentation from start to finish; I would rate it a perfect ten. It is a great adaptation of Stephen King s novel of the Shawshank Redemption. I thought the film version did a great job at capturing the essence of the book. There wasn t really any major scenes edited out and it stuck to its basic plot summary. I thought all the actors were superb, but three stood out and above the rest. Such as Tim Robbins as Andy Dufresne, Freeman as “Red”, and Gunton as the most evil warden you will ever see, who smiles with the bible in one hand while he orders you shot to death with the other. The film ran about two hours and fifteen minutes long, but never seemed that long. Every scene is just right, and there is much interesting character development throughout the film.
As for the plot summary, Andy is a straight-arrow banker, sent to the Maine prison, Shawshank, for two consecutive life terms, convicted of a double murder of his wife and her lover. He denies the charges, even after years in prison, that he is completely innocent. Red has a way to get almost anything, even “Rita Hayworth”. He was like the ambassador of trade inside the prison. Red and Andy become friends and trust each other.
Meanwhile the prison warden and the guards eventually discover Andy s intelligence. He ends up doing IRS returns for all the guards each year, he even teaches general education to the other inmates, and gets funding to expand the prison s personal library. The warden begins to use the prisoners as his own “construction crew” and gets money, illegally, from the outside. Andy helps the warden by setting up false accounts using others names to hide the earnings, and becomes the Wardens personal accountant.
Then through chance, he discovers from another inmate, who the real killer of his wife and her lover really was. Of course the warden doesn t want any part of trying to reverse Andy s conviction, because he is such a big help to the Warden inside. The warden throws Andy in solitary confinement for two months for even suggesting that he can get his charges dropped. After this Andy realizes the only way he will ever get out is if he frees himself. With a small hammer, he made off that was for rocks Andy dug his tunnel of freedom. He worked cautiously on this tunnel each day carefuly disposing any evidence. Each day he would carry the dirt in his pockets and spread it out over the jail yard. He used a pin-up poster on his cell wall, to cover up his crafty passage to freedom. When escape night comes he steals the wardens books, eventually sending it to a newspaper and exposing the wardens fraud. He then uses the warden s shoes, suit, and a false identity to claim 375,000 for himself. Once free he then makes an escape to Mexico with the money. A few days later the Warden is about to be arrested, but shoots himself instead.
Red, finally gets out on parole, and bags groceries for a while, then remembers what Dufresne had told him. He said ” If you ever get out, there s a volcanic rock at the end of a stonefence under a big tree in Buxton and under that rock is something I want you to have.” He looks it up and finds a letter and cash buried, obviously hidden for Red after Andy s escape. Red then takes the money and joins Andy in Mexico and they meet and hug on the beach in the last scene, as Dufesne is working on his boat.
While reading the book version of Stephen king s Shawshank Redemption I noticed a few changes as compared to the film. The fist change I saw, was the introduction of the story as it dealt with the character Red. The book states what Red actually did to get convicted of murder; the film leaves out the details and just shows him of being guilty of murder. The rest of the book would be from Red s point of view and mainly his assumptions about Andy. Assumptions like what was going through his head all those years in prison. For example Red talks about what it must have been like for Andy knowing he could get caught at anytime. Knowing something could go wrong and Rita Hayworth could be ripped of the wall, exposing his tunnel of freedom. As Red would say Andy some how kept cool and didn t let those thoughts drive him crazy. The book seemed to discuss more in detail the emotions Andy may have been feeling.
Another difference the book had, compared to the film, was the story of Tommy Williams. Tommy was the guy that knew Andy s innocence, the one guy that might be able to give him his freedom. In the move Tommy was shot dead by the evil warden and his death was staged to look like an escape. In the book Tommy was offered to be transferred to a low security prison with weekend furlows, so he could see his wife and kid. To a young guy like Tommy this was a tempting of an offer. In exchange he agreed never to bring up Andy s innocence again. I think the movie did a better job at showing how crooked and evil the warden was. Also the book doesn t have the Warden kill himself in the end, instead he resigns and goes on living, wondering how Andy ever got the better of him.
As for the filming of the movie it was done wisely and the plot was told in an intelligent manner. The audience wasn t one hundred percent sure; Andy was innocent from the start you were just left with an unsure feeling. You wanted him to be innocent, but you were not completely sure until the introduction of Tommy s character. From this point on the compassion you felt toward this story deepened your interest even more. The film kept you watching to see what the brilliant Andy was going to do next. Whether it was helping expand the prison library or doing tax returns for the guards. The best part about the movie was it didn t give away its ending, until the end. Most Hollywood plots are pretty predictable and can be somewhat boring. Not in a million years would you of ever thought Andy would tunnel through a wall with a little rock hammer, then crawl through a mile of shit to freedom. The film Shawshank Redemption gives you a story that surprises and excites up until the very last scene.
I thought the film did a good job of putting the audience in Andy s place. Meaning that it was shot in a very cold and harsh way. There were no bright colors, mainly just dark colors like black, blue, and gray. The guards in their black uniforms and the prisoners in their gray outfits and lets not forget the evil warden in his dark suits. The film consisted of mainly pan shots of prison life and close-ups of Andy and Red talking to each other and their inmate buddies. I think the most vibrant and colorful scene of the movie is the very last scene, where Andy is reunited with Red. In this scene you see Red walking across a sandy white beach, with the pretty blue waters of the pacific in fore ground, as you see Andy working on his colorful fishing boat. Here, you see the two characters hug and reunite as the camera slowly fads, leaving you with a sense of happiness.
In conclusion I thought the book was pretty close related to the film, although the film twisted the story a little bit. I would have to say I enjoyed to film better then he book I felt a lot more compassionate after seeing the story with my own eyes. I also thought the acting of Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman was superb and helped make the movie to be one of the greatest films of all time.
1) The Shawshank redemption, 1994, Peter Lansdown Smith
2) The Shawshank Redemption, 1982, Stephen King