Wednesday, March 10, 2010

"FEAR CAN HOLD YOU PRISONER, HOPE CAN SET YOU FREE"




From dashmammad.blogfa.com


Back in 1994, nobody thought a 2-hour prison movie based on an obscure Stephen King novella — and a non-horror one, at that — was a likely draw. And so it proved. The Shawshank Redemption did unexceptional box-office business on its initial US release in late 1994, taking only $18m against a $35m budget. Its UK release, in early 1995, coincided with the Oscar nominations, of which Shawshank got seven. But this was to be the year in which Forrest Gump took the glory and Pulp Fiction the credibility vote. There was no room in the spotlight for an old-fashioned buddy movie that, with its homespun wisdom and Capra-esque sentimentality, could have been entitled It’s a Wonderful Life Sentence.
(TIMESONLINE)
In the prologue before the film begins and pre-title credits play, a scratchy car radio (on the soundtrack) plays the romantic song: "If I Didn't Care," performed by the Inkspots:
If I didn't care, more than words can say,
If I didn't care, would I feel this way,
If this isn't love, then why do I thrill
And what makes my head go round and round
While my heart stands still...
(American Movie Classics Company LLC.)


From imfdb.org


Andy Dufresne is a young and successful banker whose life changes drastically when he is convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of his wife and her lover. Set in the 1940's, the film shows how Andy, with the help of his friend Red, the prison entrepreneur, turns out to be a most unconventional prisoner.
(Movieberry.com)
The base message is one of hope, of a stoic reserve that allows you to overcome the impossible. But, when you dig deep into that message and watch how the movie handles the delivery of that message one can’t help but marvel at the depth of the message. Hope in The Shawshank Redemption isn’t a tangible matter, it isn’t an issue at the forefront. Hope in The Shawshank Redemption is a periphery matter, something the inmates don’t allow themselves, yet something every one of them must carry around with them. The Shawshank Redemption isn’t heavy handed in its handling of its messages because it never takes the typical prison story route. Chicanery is implied, not every character is rotten, violence is seen from far away. The Shawshank Redemption takes a unique approach to prison life and that unique approach creates an interesting delivery system for the various messages in the film. There can be, and often is, a deep complexity in simple ideas and The Shawshank Redemption is the definition of that way of thinking.
(Bill at Bill's Movie Emporium)

Theatrical release poster
From Wikipedia
The Shawshank Redemption is a very claustrophobic movie and in a lot of ways it is a horror movie. Scary monsters and creatures from the beyond aren’t necessary for a horror tale, the loss of a man’s freedom and the redundancy of life as the walls continually close in on him can be the worst of all horrors.
In a film full of nothing but strengths, the direction and the acting may be the strongest of all. Frank Darabont did the near impossible with The Shawshank Redemption, he made an extremely slow moving story fascinating and captivating to watch. But beyond that, he made evil men guilty of terrible crimes into characters we care about. This was only possible because of the bravo performances from Morgan Freeman, Tim Robbins, William Sadler and James Whitmore as the prisoners along with Bob Gunton as the warden and the always awesome yet extremely underrated Clancy Brown as lead prison guard. They are human characters, they are evil, they fear, they have insecurities, they aren’t just malicious caricatures, they have reasons for why they do what they do and we loathe or feel for them depending on the character. When Brooks leaves the prison we know what his fate will be and in the hands of a lesser director we wouldn’t care about his ultimate fate, but we care because Darabont understands how to make us care.
(Bill at Bill's Movie Emporium)
Though the conditions are terrible, many of the prisoners are sadistic, and many of the guards are even worse, life begins to look up as Dufresne becomes acquainted with an old black con known as Red (Morgan Freeman, who also serves as the movie's narrator). A friendship begins after Red, "the man who knows how to get things", procures a rock hammer for Dufresne, an object he wishes to own in order to pursue a hobby in rock collecting. The friendship will only strengthen over the coming years.
Twenty years pass within the prison walls, showing the growth and strength of Andy and Red's friendship, Andy's various attempts to better the life of his fellow inmates through education (facilitated by the financial advice he gives the prison's corrupt warden), the quest to prove his innocence, and the attempt to remain mentally free and hopeful, even when surrounded by the crushing gray of prison walls.
(tvtropes.org)
There are several plot points that occur in prison ... harsh treatment by the guards, working in the prison laundry, constant threats of rape by group of sadistic prisoners known as the "Sisters," and the camaraderie of males bonding under the shared duress.
Andy's skill as a banker gains him favor with the guards, and eventually the warden. He becomes their personal accountant and parlays that favor into getting himself assigned to the thread-bare prison library, which, over the years, he transforms into a jewel of the penal system.
The warden uses Andy's expertise to launch a private construction business. Utilizing the free labor of his prisoners, the warden constructs buildings and builds roads. He profits enormously. But just as quickly as the warden is building an ill-gotten fortune, Dufresne is embezzling it and depositing the money into a series of bank accounts that he established in the names of fictitious individuals he created.
Along the way, a new prisoner comes to Shawshank and becomes friends with Dufresne and Red. As it works out. he was the cellmate of the man who confessed to him that he mudered Dufresne's wife and her lover. But when Dufresne takes that information to the warden, instead of trying to help Defresne get his freedom, the warden has his guards murder the witness.
(barry bowe at hubpages.com)
Frank Darabont’s “The Shawshank Redemption” opened in September of 1994, and immediately tanked. It did get some critical support, appeared on several top-10 lists, and, indeed was nominated for 7 Academy Awards. But that didn’t help the film’s grosses at all, only confirming big-studio fears that audiences don’t want to see a film that is 142 minutes long, takes place mostly in a prison, and is about non-action-oriented, “serious” things like redemption. Even its title was weird. “Shawshank” received no Academy Awards, although, in its defense, it was up against heavy hitters like “Pulp Fiction,” “The Lion King,” “Red,” and “Forrest Gump.”
The film is told, after a brief courtroom prologue, from the perspective of Ellis “Red” Redding (an irrepressible Morgan Freeman), the go-to man for low-level contraband in Shawshank prison, circa 1946. He can get you cigarettes, rock hammers, posters, you name it. “I’m a regular Sears & Roebuck.” He, like all the other prisoners, likes to make bets on which of the new inmates will have a noisy breakdown on their first night in prison. When we first see Red, he is making his appeal for parole after 20 years of a life sentence. At 20 years, he is pleading, humble. He clutches his hat in his hands.
How is it that Red manages to capture our feelings so tightly? Freeman manages to take a man who behaves like a scoundrel and a criminal, and make his behavior endearing, understandable, close to us. Indeed, the entire film manages to make you feel like friends to the characters. We don’t just see their actions; we’re welcomed into their circle.
(Witney Seibold at witneyman.wordpress.com)


From martind1.blogspot.com


When we first see Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), Red comments to himself that it looked like a stiff breeze would blow him over. Andy is serving two life sentences for killing his wife and her lover in a fit of passion. He claims to be innocent of this crime. Red bets that Andy will be the one to break down on the first night. Andy does not make a peep.
(Witney Seibold at witneyman.wordpress.com)





All images from imfdb.org


We’re slowly introduced to a small circle of friend in this prison. We meet the old librarian Brooks (James Whitmore). We meet the mouthy Haywood (an underrated William Sadler). We also get to know some of the unpleasant realities of prison life. We meet the brutal guard Hadley (Clancy Brown). We meet Bogs (an excellent Mark Rolston) the man who has decided to abuse and rape other prisoners to pass the time. And we meet Warden Norton, a Bible-thumper with a cruel streak. Norton is played by Bob Gunton, who is one of those supporting character actors, like Sadler, who deserves more acting credit than he normally gets.
(Witney Seibold at witneyman.wordpress.com)


From sierraclub.typepad.com


Perhaps it is Freeman’s mellifluous narrating voice that does it, but, despite the horrors and desperation of prison life, we feel like we’re part of a new family. The film is so skilled in its pacing and story and it slowly manages to wrap us up in good hopeful feelings.
(Witney Seibold at witneyman.wordpress.com)



From themoviedb.org


From revol...lting.com
But this film is ultimately a story about Red, and his own redemption. At his 30-year parole hearing, he is introverted, defeated, going through the motions. Andy, at one point, talks of hope. Red points out to him that hope, in a prison, is a very dangerous thing. It can drive a man mad. He gives us what can be called the film’s catchphrase: “Get busy livin’, or get busy dyin’.” That phrase has two meanings.
Look at Andy’s face in the famous scene where he hijacks the warden’s office to play a Mozart aria over the prison’s loudspeaker. His entire character can be encapsulated in that look. His hidden intelligence, his love for the outside world, his hope, his longing for freedom, his ability to survive under the crushing heel of defeat. His instinctive need to spread beauty and hope in one of the world’s most ugly places.
(Witney Seibold at witneyman.wordpress.com)
Tim Robbins plays another kind of hero. Whereas the other heroes in this list fight for their fellow men, or for their loved ones, or are heroic because of what they represent to us, Andy is inspirational because he fights for his own soul and freedom. Andy is first betrayed by his wife, then by the judicial system, and then by the authorities within gaol, but he is never completely broken. Piece by piece, he reclaims the territory of his own heart and mind. His eventual triumph over all these odds is a soaring moment in film history.
(On Topic Media PTY LTD)
Dufresne never did lose hope, moreover he tried to kindle the fire of hope within Red and others. He cherished for freedom and struggled with the hardness of his prison life very calmly and kept on holding on his hope. Eventually, he made the ends on his own terms as well as helped Red to convert into a new person with new life. This story line includes many subplots which are equally important for the movie to make this so much unforgettable.
Tim Robbins gave his ‘once in a lifetime’ performance in this movie. Morgan Freeman was majestic, too. James Whitmore gave a special performance as Brooks. His character was not any leading role, but he carried out a special role with special purpose with a phenomenal performance. The Green Mile is lovable too, but Frank Darabont was on his best in this movie.
Every people has his own prison within himself, and to become a free man is just a matter of choice. We can be free in the darkest dungeon, if only we can foster hope, love and the sense of freedom deep inside of ourselves as the tag line of the movie states it nicely- ” Fear can hold you prisoner. Hope can set you free”.
(Adapted from kinoscope.wordpress.com)


From wearemoviegeeks.com



No comments: