“Freedom lies in being bold” – Robert Frost
The film ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ directed by Frank Darabont, tells the story of an innocent man who gets sent to prison and spends his whole time there planning an escape. Eventually, Andy digs his way out of his cell and crawls through lengths of sewage pipes to freedom. The director had the purpose of getting the message of hope inspires freedom across to all the viewers. This can be shown in the ‘Rooftop scene’ and the ‘Mozart scene’, by the cinematography techniques of the panning shot across the prisoner’s faces and Reds narrative voiceover in both scenes.
An important scene in the film “The Shawshank Redemption” that uses the two techniques of the panning shot and Red’s narrative voiceover, to show the director’s purpose of hope inspires freedom is the ‘Rooftop’ scene. During this scene, a few of the prisoners get work on the roof of the prison. While this is happening Andy overhears one of the guards talking about money problems. As Andy is a banker he tells the guard he can help out for the small price of 3 beers for each of his co-workers. The first technique used in this scene to show the director’s purpose is the panning shot. A panning shot is one in which the camera moves around horizontally and sweeps around the scene, this is done as the prisoners sit on the roof drinking their beers that Andy got for them. This shot is used to show the close-up emotions of each and every one of those prisoners when the camera moves around to all of them we all see a similar look on their faces of hope. This feeling of hope gives them inspiration into one day they might be free, and doing the same thing in the outside world. Another technique that is used to show the director’s purpose is Red’s voiceover narration. This narration is played over the top of the scene and is non-diegetic sound as we can’t see the source that the sound is coming from. The tone of Red’s voice is more passive than usual, and it is also a lot lighter than usual, this makes us feel warm on the inside and happy. At one point Red says “…we sat and drank with the sun on our shoulders and felt like free men, hell, we could have been tarring the roof of one of our own houses.” This is done because the director wants us to feel the same way as Red and all the other prisoners do while they are on the roof. This relates back to the director’s purpose of hope inspires freedom, because the scene gives us a hopeful feeling into one day they might be free again like us because we really believe that they are all good men on the inside. These two techniques work together because they both present the feelings that are going around all the prisoners while they sit on that roof and drink beer. The panning shot shows it within their body language and facial expression and Red’s voiceover narration does it with the tone of his voice and the words he says. The director has put this scene into the film because drinking can be used as a method of stress relief and can also be used to put a cover of your problems and not deal with them till a later point in time. This is what they do in the film because while they are on the roof they are away from the prison and they use the beers and their location to make themselves feel like they are freedom their problems and the world that they are surrounded in inside the prison. This can be related to a scene in Suits where they go to a bar and have a drink after a long hard day at work. We see that this makes them feel free and they can forget their lives while they sit at that bar and have a few drinks. This is the same as in the rooftop scene, where after a long hard day the boys have a few beers to relax.
Another important scene in this film, that uses the panning shot and Red’s narrative voiceover is the Mozart scene. During this scene, we see that Andy has received boxes of books for his new library inside the prison. Inside that box Andy finds an old record and decides to break the rules of the prison and play it on the record player inside the warden’s office. He locks himself in so no one can stop him and then plays it over the speakers that are connected throughout the whole prison so everyone can hear the music. The first technique that shows the director’s purpose (hope inspires freedom), is once again a panning shot. This time the panning shot shows the body language and facial expressions of all the prisoners and even people working inside when they first hear the music being played. It shows us that everyone stops what they are doing and are taken aback by the sounds they are hearing. As the panning shot moves around we see that every single one of the people who hear the music look up at the speakers that the sound is coming out of in awe, this is because the sound takes their minds away from where they are and the life that they are actually living. It makes them feel free for a small amount of time and their problems all disappear for a moment when they hear the music. The other technique in this scene that represents hope and freedom is Reds narrative voiceover. This once again plays over the scene and is non-diegetic sound because we can’t see where it is coming from. At one point Red says “…and for the briefest of moments, every man in Shawshank felt free.” When Red says this we know that this is how him and all the other prisoners feel like this, not because we can see it, but because the type of characters the actor Morgan Freeman usually plays is ‘God like’ characters. This shows that everyone looks up to him and his voice overs usually represent the feelings that everyone has. These techniques work together to show hope and freedom because the panning shot shows the emotions and Red tells the story of the emotions and as a ‘God like’ figure he provides hope to others and this makes them feel free. Another movie where this scene can be related to, is in the movie ‘Philadelphia’. This movie is about a young man who has aids and is judged by society. One night he plays the same song that Andy plays in the prison. When he plays this song, his mind goes other places and he becomes oblivious to his problems and everything else around him.
In conclusion the two techniques that work together to show ‘hope inspires freedom’ are Reds voiceover and the panning shits that move around the prisoners. These two work together by showing us their facial expressions and body language, and Reds voiceover tells us the feelings of all the prisoners when Andy does something bold that makes them all feel free.