Film Discussion 07: The Shawshank Redemption

We had a great discussion this last Sunday about one of my favorite films, The Shawshank Redemption. We covered why this movie resonates with so many people, Andy's ability to hold on to hope, the place of women (or lack thereof) in the film, and Andy's constant battle against the evil that is the prison and warden. Perhaps some of my favorite topics that we got to though was whether Andy was choosing between the lesser of two evils, or rather the greater of two goods (thanks for Eric for that prompt!), and identifying Red's resurrection scene within the Hero's journey and comparing his response to Brooks' and the warden's.

Below you'll find the show notes. They're a little shorter this time as it was actually pretty hard to find some good material on this film. As we encountered in this discussion, it can be hard to not merely have a trite discussion on superficial topics in this movie, and it seems that others have run into this dilemma as well.

Also, don't forget to join us next time on April 20th at 10:00am PDT to discuss Lawrence of Arabia. Should be a good discussion starter, so RSVP and get in on the next one!

Show Notes

1. "The Shawshank Redemption" by (the late, great) Roger Ebert

From Andy's arrival on the prison bus to the film's end, we see only how others see him - Red, who becomes his best friend, Brooks the old librarian, the corrupt Warden Norton, guards and prisoners. Red is our surrogate. He's the one we identify with, and the redemption, when it comes, is Red's. We've been shown by Andy's example that you have to keep true to yourself, not lose hope, bide your time, set a quiet example and look for your chance. "I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really," he tells Red. "Get busy livin' or get busy dyin'."

2. "Film Discussion: The Hero’s Journey" from my series on film discussion

If you want to check out the 12 stages of the hero's journey a little more in-depth, I have a quick write-up on it. And if you want to learn more about other aspects of filmmaking to aid your viewing, check out the series!

Ben Brandt

Ben is a front-end developer with a love for all things web. When he isn't coding for his 8-to-5, he's usually running, watching movies, or playing with new web frameworks and languages.

Portland, OR

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