Hi there, if anyone can look at my essay it will be really great!!
I really want to get E and don’t know if this is good enough: Much appreciated
Analyse how the choice and presentation of a setting was used to develop a main theme:
In the film “The Shawshank Redemption” directed by Frank Darabont, the Shawshank Prison was used to develop the theme of the loss of freedom the prisoners experience and also to the extent of showing the audience how they get institutionalized through the passage of time in prison. The director utilizes great visual and cinematographic effects to represent the prison as a setting which rips off all liberty and freedom the prisoners innately have as normal human beings, and this taking place can be seen with several examples from the film.
The walls in the prison are described by Red as the psychological factor which causes the inmates to feel the loss of freedom, “First you hate them…”, “then you get used to them, and you start depending on them, that’s institutionalized”. The inmates get so used to the setting of the prison that they forget what it feels like to be free, they get so used to living by orders to the extent that they lose the sense of identity that they would normally have if they were to be living in the outside world. This can accurately be seen by looking at the situation that Brooks goes through, he is so scared of the outside world because he does not how to live a free life, he has lost his identity to make decisions for himself and has become accustomed to the life where he is constantly being ordered to do things which the prison officers orders him to do, as Brooks even himself said “I have trouble sleeping at night…”, “Sometimes it takes me a while to remember where I am”. The prison has accurately been portrayed by the director in a way that rips away people’s sense of identity and this psychological factor described by Red is the exact representation of the prison which the director had in mind when structuring the setting of the prison throughout the film.
Throughout the film, we see extreme high angle shots to represent freedom and hope as done by the director in the beginning of the film, where a high angle shot of the entire prison panning and lowering down as the bus carrying Andy enters the prison. This cinematographic technique utilized by the director shows the audience the last glimpse of freedom that Andy is witnessing before he crosses the barrier between the outside world and Shawshank prison. This is the beginning of the loss of freedom for Andy and an inmates journey towards being institutionalized in the prison.
Colour has also been used to effectively by the director to illustrate the fact that the prison is all but nothing but a big hopeless location, as the majority of the film is in grey or darker colours. The only time in the prison where there are brighter colours is the time when Andy confronts Captain Hadley and manages to get beers for his other inmates on the roof, as said by Red, “we sat and drank with the sun our shoulders, and felt like free men”. The inmates felt a sense of freedom when they sat on the roof with the bright sun drinking beers, they felt they were no longer inside the prison but they were outside in their own homes painting the roofs of their own homes, and the director’s utilization of the bright evening sun indicated to us the sense of freedom that the inmates were feeling at that moment of time. Darabont had effectively distinguished bright colours between the moments where there was a sense of freedom, and the dark colours which represented to us that Shawshank prison was a place where freedom and a sense of identity is lost. This variance in the nature of the setting of the prison and the outside world is immense, and this can be seen at the end of the film when Red and Andy meet near the ocean, and the bright blue ocean in the bright sun is seen. This distinguishing factor between the ocean and the setting of the prison can be immense, they are almost polar opposites of each other. The bright ocean representing endless freedom, whereas the prison representing the complete loss of freedom.
The director had accurately used the prison to show us the fear and loss of identity that inmates go through, throughout their life in the prison. This film showed us the emotions and fears that inmates go through in their life as a prisoner, and this is done very effectively through visual techniques like colour of the prison and the symbolic description of the walls by Red. Not only that, but the nature of the prison was successful in allowing us the audience to have immense sympathy towards the inmates who have ironically been sent to prison for the very heinous crimes that we so despise.