The Shawshank Redemption

Read Complete Research Material

The Shawshank Redemption


The prison film's most fundamental plot mechanisms and narrative devices are manipulative acts of personal violence (Cool Hand Luke, 1967; American History X, 1998), riots (Brute Force, 1947; Riot in Cell Block 11, 1954), thrilling escapes (I Am Fugitive from Chain Gang, 1932; The Defiant Ones, 1958; The Shawshank Redemption , 1994), and executions (Angels with Dirty Faces, 1938; I Want to Live!, 1955; Dead Man Walking, 1995; The Green Mile, 1999). These conventions build upon key axes of narrative structure, what Cheat wood (1998) labels “fundamental structural elements” of these films, including their specific orientation toward such issues as confinement, justice, authority, and release.

Many scholars anticipate that contemporary prison cinema is undergoing significant transformation. They argue that classical definitions, conventions, and plots of prison films have become increasingly murky and abstract with no clear moral message. Individual actors are rendered less capable of meaningful action in an increasingly arbitrary, confusing prison setting, where authority, justice, and moral systems are no longer clear or stable. In such context, heroes become anti-heroes, and easy resolutions of classical prison cinema are no longer believable. These films are exemplified by an odd mixture of self-reflexive documentary-style productions, Yet some of most popular prison productions of past decade have clearly been built on established conventions and nostalgic formulas of classic prison films, including Frank Darabont's The Shawshank Redemption (1994) and The Green Mile (1999), both from works authored by Stephen King.

As well, most popular images of criminality in American cinema have continued to emerge from walls of prison, including perpetual recycling of Dr. Hannibal Lecter (The Silence of Lambs, 1991; Hannibal, 2001; Red Dragon, 2002). The images are vivid and diverse, never simplistic and somehow always difficult to turn away from, perpetually asserting through sheer ubiquity that prisons have primary social functions and fulfill complex cultural needs. (Shawshank 94)

Cheat wood argues that these elements reappear consistently across prison cinema and one may map cultural transformation through changes in ways in which these elements are mobilized through various historical eras to justify or challenge imprisonment. For instance, Depression era films are more likely to characterize imprisonment as miscarriage of justice, avoid positioning of responsibility and blame upon individual offenders, and legitimate existing justice system through removal of few key corrupt individuals (guards or wardens)— style in many ways deeply inconsistent with contemporary treatments of these same conventions under incapacitation. Thus, prison film operates as significant socio-historical artifact. (Morehouse 08)

Discussion and Analysis

The Shawshank Redemption” is one of those movies that I wished I'd seen on big screen. Thanks to videos, however, all was not lost. Whether intentional or not, this film is about grace and hope, as well as redemption that can occur even in most dark and degrading corners of our world. Conceived and produced by secular film community, this engrossing film stands as one of most entertaining, thought-provoking dramas of this century. (Shawshank 94)

But, it's film for mature audiences. It takes us to setting that's disturbing, uses language that's raw, showcases supporting ...
Related Ads