Shawshank Redemption’ directed by Frank Darabont is a compelling film about the life of one of its prisoners, Andy. many film techniques were used through out the film as a clever way of conveying main themes. This essay is going to examine how Darabont used camera angles and colour effectively in this film to portray the idea of power. The use of camera angles was a clear way of defining a characters personality.
The warden, Norton, is often seen from a low angles which highlights his high status in the prison and his authority. ”Your arse belongs to me”. This effective way of showing Norton’s position of power allows the audience to understand the significance of him. The prisoners, however are frequently shown from a high angle which emphasizes their lack of power and authority. The change in camera angles for Norton and the prisoners shows the contrasting positions they are in and the power and status they hold.
When Andy plays music we see the prisoners shown form a bird’s eye view, this is another camera angle used to display the prisoners as small and insignificant. The camera angles used by Darabont allow the audience to see the status of the characters. As the audience we get an instant look into who is a in control and who isn’t. While Andy is inside Shawshank we do not see many variations of colour, mainly just shades of grey. these dull, lifeless colours highlight the prisoners lack of power and for most of the prisoners, their lack of hope.
Being contained in those dull prison walls and obeying Norton completely shows that the prisoners do not maintain any form of control in the situation they are in. The grey boring tones of the prison represent how the prisoner are expected to act, dull, lifeless and without and opinion. The colours Darabont has used show how insitutionalised the prisoners become. When Brooke’s is released these dull colours are also shown, emphasizing how he has become insitutionalised. This contrasts against the colours shown during the reunion of Andy and Red.
The audience no longer sees grey, depressing colours, but instead sees the bright sand and vibrant colours of the pacific ocean. This shows the audience how Andy is no longer controlled by the conformity of prison life, has regained power and is now, finally free. both camera angles and use of colour were effective ways of portraying the idea of power. Through the use of these techniques the audience see the contrast in status of the prisoners and Norton and between prison life and the free world.