Archive for The shawshank redemption

Save The Cat! Video Tribute 5: The Shawshank Redemption

Posted in Save the Cat! Tribute Videos with tags , , , , , on September 9, 2010 by mediajuicestudios

(( CLICK HERE TO WATCH IT ))

Ironically I had the pleasure of meeting Frank Darabont (The Director) a couple of months ago at the Dallas AFI film festival.  He came and showed a screening of his  personal 35MM print of Shawshank.  It was stunning.  When we met I complimented his work and he took a good 5 to 8 minutes to talk to me about film-making, screenwriting and Drew Struzan (a man we both admire.)

Needless to say, breaking down this film using the Blake Snyder beat sheet was alot of fun.  Many in the film world have called Shawshank Redeption a “..near perfect film..”  Its a masterpiece in my opinion.  Visually, structurally and “cinematically” its just amazing.  And the performances are so spot on you feel transported into that world…a world of “hopelessness” and “fear”.  Incidentally the tag line of the movie is exactly what the THEME of the movie is, i.e. “Hope Can Set you Free”.  The THEME STATED beat of Shawshank comes precisely at 1 hour and 12 minutes into the movie when Andy talks to the guys about not losing hope.  It seems that all the dialogue, all the actions of the characters and even the cinematography reinforce this theme of hope & fear.  Even the “Save The Cat!” moment when Andy asks what the murdered inmates name was, the reply he gets is full of “hopelessness”.  The man says “…It doesn’t  F%$cking matter what his name is…he’s dead…”  Its exactly what a person who has given themselves over to institutionalization would say.  Most all of the inmates have been desensitized from hope and become full of fear. In fact Morgan Freeman’s character (Red) even says “Hope is a dangerous thing inside here”.  These are the very things that Tim Robbins character battles against.  The brilliant thing about Andy Dufrane’s (Robbins) character ARC is how secretive and subtle it seems until his escape.  You think he too has given up hope, become desensitized, become an “institutional man”.  But nothing could be further from the truth.  Dufrane’s character has been FULL of hope the whole time, evidenced by the tunnel he dug for 15+ years to get out.  Alas the tag-line of the movie is absolutely perfect, “Hope can set you free”.  In Andy’s case (and later Red’s) it does just that.

Now to the MIDPOINT beat in Shawshank.  It comes precisely at the middle of the film (1 hour and 13 minutes in) and it reveals alot about Morgan Freemans’ character (Red) ARC.  Red is up for parole in the beginning of the film, the middle of the film and at the end. Each time you see him in front of the parole board he seems to care less and less.  By the end (after his best friend Andy has escaped) he has given himself over to the reality of dying in prison, but he has a wisdom about him now that he didn’t have at the beginning of the film.  He’s not “feeding the parole board a line”, rather he’s honestly telling them the truths of his life and what he’s learned.  Because of his character arc, he’s set free and HOPE springs anew in him (there’s that THEME again.) 😉

And now a word about the BAD GUYS CLOSE IN beats of Shawshank.  They say your “hero” character is only as strong (to the audience) as his opposing “villain” and that dynamic couldn’t be more true in Shawshank.  The Warden is PURE EVIL and our disdain for him as the movie progresses seems to reach boiling points, which makes us empathize and “root for” our Hero, Andy all the more.  The “Bad Guys Close in” beat starts with the Warden’s disbelief of the new evidence that could prove Andy’s innocence, which make us as an audience absolutely hate The Warden.  It plays perfectly into the ALL IS LOST, DARK KNIGHT OF THE SOUL AND FINALE beats.  By the final shot of Andy and Red together on the beach, we’ve been taken on a whirlwind of emotion and character arcs.  I try to watch Shawshank Redemption at least once or twice a year just to reinvigorate my passion for film-making, storytelling and just to ground me as a person.  Keeping your hopes alive (no matter where you are in life) is not only a powerful theme for a movie its a TRUE THEME to live our lives by.

(( CLICK HERE TO WATCH ‘THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION’ TRIBUTE VIDEO ))

cheers,
Jeremy

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