The Shawshank Redemption
For my film analysis, I chose the movie The Shawshank Redemption. Frank
Darabont directed Shawshank and wrote the screenplay based on the novel Rita
Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption by author Stephen King. The movie was made in
1994 and produced by Niki Marvin.
The movie stars Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins as two convicts serving time
in a New England prison named Shawshank. Tim Robbins plays a man named Andy
Dufresne, a banker, who gets convicted of murdering his wife and her lover and is sent to
prison in Shawshank. Andy eventually becomes good friends with a fellow convict by the
name of Ellis Boyd Redding(Morgan Freeman) who is able to get anything for anyone
within reason. The story follows the prison life of Andy Dufresne and his eventual escape
from Shawshank's walls.
The movie follows a formalistic style of direction under Frank Darabont. He
interweaves scenes with nice fluid shots. The shots are not jarring or rough cut. Darabont
tends to take the story at a distance allowing the characters to establish their traits to the
audience instead of pushing a barrage of angles at the audience. The position of the
camera is intricately placed in all scenes. The movie is a perfect example of classical
The most unique part about the style of the movie is in the cinematography by
Roger Deakins. The whole story looks like it was filmed with a blue filter. The filters

give a special beauty to the scenes, which in turn causes more dramatic feelings for the
audience. With this filter the movie tends to bring out the two different colors of blue and
brown. The blues of the uniforms are all the more dramatic compared to the drab brown
buildings surrounding the prisoners. The colors also produce dramatic irony in the last
scene of Red and Andy on the beach. The blue and brown colors that once gave
feelings of confinement and despair in the prison are now colors of freedom and
The lighting that goes along with the scenes are also interesting. The whole movie
is shot primarily in high contrast with the exception of the guards who are mostly in the
shadows. The lighting that follows the guards present a darkness to their characters, they
are displayed as harsh and villainy. The violent scenes all take place in the shadows as
well, with low key light. The lighting of these scenes give a sense of violence without
actually showing it in the film.
The screenplay written for The Shawshank Redemption is exact and precise,
everything in the movie complements the development of characters and presents
underlying motifs such as prisoner's dependence from long term incarceration, prisoner
camaraderie, and feelings of hope in hopeless situations. The plot has a smart climax that
is not fully understandable until the last few scenes. The ending is a total surprise as to
how Andy escapes from Shawshank. The movie is brought together with the clever
narration's by "Red"(Morgan Freeman). By having Red narrate, the audience quickly
identifies with the prisoners, there are certain common traits that the characters and
audience share that produce sympathy for the incarcerated criminals. The use of narration
also brings out a sense of fate. The use of a narrator also helped tremendously as to
explaining the details of how Tim Robbins character escapes from the jail.
The dialogue is also clever and witty at times. The movie has many memorable

quotes such as when Andy tells red, "On the outside I was always straight as an arrow, I
had to come in here to be a crook" and "You either have to start living or you got to start
dying." Some other quotes in the movie are a little more subtle like when the warden
hands Andy his bible back with the words, "Salvation lies from within." Only at the end
of the movie do we find that Andy had hidden a rock pick in the bible that the warden
had given him.
One of the best scenes in the movie is when Andy is looking through some
records that the state has just sent to the prison. He decides to play the record on the
intercom and locks himself in the room so the guards won't stop him. The camera goes