Friday, 13 January 2017

Film Review | Adaption and Transcription | The Shawshank Redemption

Fig 1. The Shawshank Redemption Movie Poster
We have had an array of wonderful movies that have already lived their life on a bookshelf
And then been brought back to life through the power of adaption. Adaption is the taking of one medium and re-telling the story through a different genre or lens. One film that specifically sticks out in terms of adapted movies would be Frank Darabont's adaption of Stephen King's novella 'Rita Hayworth and The Shawshank Redemption'  "It's not a horror film, rather a thumpingly good ode to friendship, hope, wit, wiles and wisdom, brimming with crackling characters and topped with the most twisteroo of twists since The Crying Game."  (Nathan, 2016)

Fig 2. Andy and Red conversing in the Prison yard

The Shawshank Redemption is a stunning movie that follows the betrayal of Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) and how he was sentenced to two life sentences wrongfully. Andy Dufresne never committed the crime, he never killed his wife and her lover. Nonetheless Andy get transported to the Shawshank Penitentiary where he meets Ellis Boyd Redding  'Red ' (Morgan Freeman). It's in the Shawshank penitentiary where Andy is used as a financial advisor to everyone in the prison, his job in prison is to be a library assistant to Brooks Hatlen. Eventually Andy gets offered to Lyell launder money for the warden.

Unfortunately even though the novella only has around 100 pages Frank has still managed to leave out some information from the film. There's some quite significant changes as well, for example Red was depicted in the books as a white Irish man, whereas in the movie Red is played by Morgan Freeman who is a black actor, but he still jokes about by saying he is Irish. Another huge change from the book to the movie is at the end of the movie once Andy has escaped. When the warden finds out about Andy's escape he resigns, whereas in the movie he clearly commits suicide via bullet to the brain. Andy is also described as a small, neat man within the book, but within the movie Andy is instead played by Tom Robbins who is a hefty 6 ft 5. One
of the hugest pieces of information was omitted from the movie is to do with the ending. Red in the book is supposed to get out of prison and find Andy's note to tell him to go to Mexico but the story ends before Red finds Andy. Whereas in the movie we all know that Andy meets Red in the beach in Mexico.

Despite omitting a fair chunk of information, The Shawshank Redemption also to adhere to a lot of its story from the novella. One mighty fine example is the lines from book are pretty much matched exactly in the film. It is Morgan Freeman who acts as the narrator as well. "It uses the narrator's calm, observant voice to include us in the story of men who have formed a community behind bars. It is deeper than most films; about continuity in a lifetime, based on friendship and hope." (Ebert, 1999) As it seems Frank Darabont stuck to his guns and ensured that the events in the film matched exactly to the novella somewhat. This means that there was not really any room to add anything to the source material.

One thing that has always been celebrated with The Shawshank Redemption is that it perfectly captures the themes of the source matierial. The themes that emanate from the source a belief of hope. It is about when there is nothing to hold on to, hope will give you something to strive towards. In point of fact the whole story is about hope and friendship over coming adversity and the film shows this magnificently.

Fig 3. Andy explaining no-one can touch your hope

Although strangely enough The Shawshank Redemption didn't do that well at the box office, on the other hand it did get 7 oscar nominations, gleaming reviews and many praises for the story and acting being so realistic and emotional.

Overall I feel like The Shawshank Redemption is a perfect adaption of its predecessor, Tim and Morgan steal the show and make it their own. Definitely a film to go down in history as one of the best adaptions.

Image Sources

Fig 1. The Shawshank Redemption [Film Poster] At: Accessed 12/01/2017

Fig 2. Andy and Red conversing in the Prison yard [Film Screenshot] At: Accessed 12/01/2017

Fig 3. Andy explaining no-one can touch your hope [Film Sequence]  At: Accessed 12/01/2017

Quote Sources

Nathan, I (2016) The Shawshank Redemption Review At: Accessed 12/01/2017

Ebert, R (1999) The Shawshank Redemption At: Accessed 12/01/2017

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