✪✪✪ Film Shawshank Redemption

Thursday, December 09, 2021 1:45:28 PM

Film Shawshank Redemption



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Shawshank Redemption - Andy Escapes

As with the warden, it's a little bit hard to believe that he remained at his post for over 20 years, but it's not impossible and makes for a more convincing rivalry and a more satisfying eventual defeat. The closeness of the film to its source material was counterbalanced by some of the casting choices. Like Red, who was cast as Black rather than Irish, Andy himself looks a little different onscreen than fans of the book might expect. In the novel, Andy is written as a more diminutive man — short, well-kept, and exacting. His fastidious nature, at least, is evident in his behaviors and interactions, from his hobby of collecting and whittling rocks to his success as an accountant of sorts for the entire prison staff. He even creates a seamless fake identity for himself out of thin air with the limited resources available to him in prison.

But in terms of stature, Andy as played by the 6'5" Tim Robbins looks a lot different from the way he's described in the book, and sticklers can certainly argue over any metaphorical significance to his character. Less of a literal underdog, perhaps? It's undoubtedly fascinating to think of a small and unassuming man raging against his own helplessness both by tunneling through a prison wall and by allegedly murdering his wife and her lover. However, the fact remains that, while the story maintains a remarkably large part of its integrity in the film, more liberty no pun intended was taken with the casting because it was more about who could best portray these compelling characters and less about what they looked like while they did it.

The conclusion of the Shawshank film is one of the most poignant ways in which the adaptation adds something to the story by straying from it. In the book, we don't get to see Red walking toward Andy on the shore of the Pacific Ocean, both of them fugitives but both of them free. Instead, we just get the line where Red says he hopes he will see his friend again. You could argue that leaving it open-ended like the novella does, rather than the explicitly happy ending offered by the film, is a more accurate representation of the nature of hope.

But Red and Andy have already lived through enough open-endedness. It was open-endedness that proved too much for Brooks' James Whitmore "institutionalized" mind, as used to the prescribed roles and rituals of prison life as he was, and it almost overtook Red's as well. Though the future remains exhilaratingly uncertain, the two friends nonetheless find in each other something concrete to place their hope in, something as definite and durable as stone.

It's not the grey and unforgiving stone of a prison's walls but that of a volcanic rock that loyally guards the promise of a new life. The novella is entitled Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption , and this title is significant partly because Rita Hayworth's is the first poster Red gives Andy in the novel, and they become friends afterward. In the film, however, the poster of Rita Hayworth is requested by Andy after the two are already friends.

It may not seem like that big of a deal, but the actress is featured in the novella's title for a reason. She represents the beginning of the friendship that forms the foundation of the story. Changing the order of events in a seemingly inconsequential way nonetheless slightly undercuts this meaning. The actress is so significant to the original story that Darabont actually received audition materials from some hopefuls for the part of Rita Hayworth which didn't exist , despite removing her name from the title of the adaptation.

It's also interesting to note that in Andy's multiple decades at Shawshank, the poster on his wall changes only twice in the film, from Rita Hayworth to Marilyn Monroe and finally Raquel Welch as the sole witness to Andy's escape. The poster changes multiple times in the novel. Like the rotating, less-consequential guards and wardens of the novel, the Sisters in the book are combined into fewer, more central villains for the movie. They're still depicted as a gang with multiple members who perpetrate Andy's harassment, but the locus of the aggression lies with Bogs Diamond Mark Rolston , a character who's only mentioned once or twice in the novel before getting transferred and disappearing. Bogs' role is much bigger in the film because he almost single-handedly does the tormenting that Andy endures from multiple members of the Sisters in the book.

In terms of economical film production, it makes sense to consolidate this rivalry. The confrontations hit harder, and it increases our sympathy for the protagonist and our sense of the hostility of prison life. In keeping with his exaggerated influence, Bogs' ending also makes more of a mark — literally. In both the book and the movie, he's transferred out of the prison.

But in the film, it's only after he's been beaten to a pulp by the guards after assaulting Andy. As with characters like Boggs, Brooks is only mentioned in passing in the book, and his inclusion and expansion in the film speaks to Darabont's eye for the quirks and moments that define what it is to be human which is what Andy and his fellow inmates themselves are trying so hard to cling to.

The baby crow in his pocket is one such quirk, and we get to see him blossom into a full-fledged character. We're allowed to get invested in his story. And that's why seeing him finally get released in old age and take his own life, unable to adapt to the strange and "hurried" world that has moved on without him on the outside, hits so hard. That's especially true when compared to his death from old age in the book.

We get to know Brooks so much more intimately in the film, and through him, we also get a glimpse into just how ingrained the prison way of life becomes and how great a leap it can be from rehabilitation to reintegration. On the evening of Andy's escape, his friends are quite literally up all night worrying about him. Red remarks in the voice-over that, even for the endlessly dragging prison nights, that was the longest night of his life. The group is worried for Andy because they believe he may intend to kill himself. He'd been speaking strangely to Red about the future, dying, and a mysterious object he's left for Red, almost in the sense of "making arrangements" as one might do near the end of their life. Then it comes out that he'd asked another inmate earlier for a six-foot-long rope.

It all adds up to a pretty worrisome set of behaviors and the implication that Andy may be planning to take his own life. So when he fails to show up outside his cell for the count the following morning, the audience and all of Andy's friends naturally have a pit in their stomachs, wondering at his fate. But this moment would've been even more charged if we'd had the background information we get in the novel. Here, Andy is actually suicidal. He mentions this as an explanation for owning a gun, and knowing this would've heightened the tension in this moment exponentially, and it would've been motivating information for much of Andy's attitude and behaviors. For whatever reason, however, it's left out of the movie. If Warden Norton's looming presence throughout the decades wasn't enough to cement his antagonism in the audience's eyes, what he does to Tommy Gil Bellows in the movie seals the deal tenfold.

But fans of the movie may not be aware that Tommy actually lives the book. They just transfer him to another prison in order to prevent him from revealing his sensitive information. What information? Well, as luck or coincidence or hope would have it, Tommy has been incarcerated all over the Northeast, and one night, one of his former cellmates was bragging about how he did a robbery job on some fancy golf pro who put up a fight, so he killed him and the girl he was with. And best of all, the authorities pinned the murder on the woman's distraught husband! This is, of course, Andy Dufresne, and the tale is the key to his innocence. The only problem is that Andy has become a tremendous asset to Warden Norton.

All of the corrupt man's schemes rest on Andy's "accounting" expertise. If Andy were to be exonerated and released, the warden would have a much harder time running his scams. So, the warden lures him outside and then has him shot under the pretense that he was trying to escape. In the letter, Andy asks Red to come to Zihuatanejo, a town on the Mexican coast which he'd previously discussed with Red. Red reflects on the words of his friend, who said the only thing to do was either "get busy living, or get busy dying.

Over the course of "The Shawshank Redemption," we see how the prison system grinds down the humanity of the inmates and can hollow them out until there is nothing left. But the film also provides examples of the sustaining power of hope and how one can choose to embrace it or reject it in the face of overwhelming despair. Andy Dufresne's indomitable spirit allowed him to escape Shawshank, but beyond that, we see the ripple effect his sense of hope and quiet optimism brought to Red in the face of the near-overwhelming despair in his life. Andy's spirit and quiet kindness gave something to Red that his smuggling skills couldn't obtain in prison: hope. The hope that things could get better, a hope that Red ultimately embraces.

Their reunion on the beach is a pitch-perfect ending to a powerful film about hope and its power to sustain and uplift. Columbia Pictures. A favor for a friend Columbia Pictures. Get busy living, or get busy dying.

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