Last Saturday night, I decided to watch the Shawshank redemption, as it was voted in the Internet Movie Database the best movie of all times. I have to admit I didn’t enjoy the violent scenes of the movie, but the lesson on human freedom it had truly amazed me.
I’ve taken film courses at my school, and many times I wondered what was I doing sitting down in a classroom while I watched a film. It was something I could do in my own house. But what the teacher wanted us to learn is that films aren’t meant to entertain the public, but to show the consequences of human actions so we can learn from them.
As the classes went by, I also learned that only by watching films and researching about them, I would have a critical view.
After watching the movie and discussing it with a close friend, I reflected on each character.
While in prison, Andy, who is the main character, suffered from harassment, injustice and abuse. Prisoners were treated as savages: the police officers hit them, they killed the ones who complained about their life conditions, and they swore all the time.
Meanwhile, Andy met his best friend Red. He introduces Andy to other people.Later on, they would build a library for the prisoners.
It’s not until the end of the movie when the viewer realizes Andy had been planning his escapement from prison all that time.
I’ll limit my analysis to three characters of the movie: Andy (of course), Brooks Hatlen and the Warden.
Despite all the terrible circumstances Andy had to live, he learned it was better to “get busy living” than to “get busy dying.” He suffered and he worked hard. But he also used the knowledge he had learned throughout his career and past life to help the prisoners: he taught them how to read and write, he encouraged them to respect each other. He opened a library for the prison. And finally, he found a way to spend all the spare time he had to plan his “redemption.”
Brooks Hatlen had spent most of his life working in a prison. What really surprised me about this character is that he was the first one to get out from prison, and ended up hating his life.The movie portraits pretty well how society treats old people nowadays. It’s touching how he writes the letter about what he thinks of the world, and how he feels treated : “the world went and got itself in a big damn hurry.” I felt so sad when he killed himself. It made me wonder, was this character truly free, even if he left the prison? Was he able to value who he was in relation to the world?
The Warden was an interesting character. He said he believed in two things: the discipline and the Bible. As the public watches the film, they realize this character is incoherent. He supported the violence in the prison. He ordered police officers to kill prisoners and hit them brutally. Despite the fact he has an important position in the prison, he abuses his power to get money and mistreat the prisoners. He hates the truth. And finally, when he’s about to face the consequences of all his actions, he commits suicide. How did he use his freedom?