The Shawshank Redemption

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How does the director create a sense of tension and the unexpected in the escape scene of The Shawshank Redemption?

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The Shawshank Redemption is an impressive, engrossing piece of film-making from director Frank Darabont who adapted horror master Stephen King’s 1982 novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption for his first feature film. Through out the film, tension is added in many ways. In the scenes leading up to the escape scene, and the actual escape scene of The Shawshank Redemption, Darabont, creates tension and the unexpected in many different ways.

This film is al about when Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), an innocent banker, is sent to prison for a double life sentence. He makes friends while inside, his closest friend becoming Ellis Boyd Redding (Morgan Freeman) or ‘Red’ as his friends call him. Andy suffers with quiet dignity. To keep this under control, he continues with his favourite hobby, which just so happens to be geology. After 20 years of his sentence, he becomes the first prisoner to ever escape from Shawshank. Also he manages to have the Warden (Bob Gunton) found out for all of his crimes.

There are three main characters in this film. The first is Andy Dufresne. He starts off as being the newbie who is thought to be the weakest of the bunch but turns out actually to be one of, if not the strongest characters in the film. Andy adds tension because the audience expect him to be the new guy. When it turns out he isn’t, a whole new impact is put on the film.

The second is Red. Not only is he the narrator of the film but he is the leader of the group. He appears as clever because he is the person who can ‘get stuff’ from the outside. Red adds tension because when the audience is looking from the narrator’s point of view, they are also looking from the view of Red, Andy’s friend. When Red is worried, scared, or upset, so is the audience.

The third main character is the Warden. He appears to the audience as strong and over powering. But when looked at closely, he is only strong when the opposition is locked behind bars. The Warden adds tension because even though at first he appears strong, eventually his true character comes out. This reveals hidden depths within the story because it is like having a totally new character in the story.

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