Review of the movie, “Shawshank Redemption”
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The movie “Shawshank Redemption”, written and directed by Frank Darabont is about Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) who in 1947 is sentenced to two consecutive life terms in prison for the murders of his wife and her lover. However, only Andy knows that he didn’t commit the crimes. Sent to Shawshank Prison to do hard time, Andy, a banker in the outside world has to learn to get by in the brutal, cutthroat confines of prison life as he is subjected to vicious attacks from the guards and his fellow in-mates. His quiet strength slowly earns the respect of his fellow inmates, most notably, Red (Morgan Freeman) and even much of the prison staff. His previous experience as a banker also earns him favor with the guards and the warden as he begins to launder money for them all. In return, Andy is permitted special privileges which include working in the warden’s office and building a library for the rest of the prison. But Andy’s seemingly stoic acceptance of his unjust imprisonment hides a fierce determination for freedom, especially after his innocence is proven seventeen years later. Eventually, after serving nineteen years of his sentence, the warden uncovers a series of events which leaves Shawshank sinking in scandal and Andy Dufresne nowhere to be found.
In relating this movie to some of the concepts of communication, we can first start by defining interpersonal communication which is the type of communication that dominates in most of the movie. Two people interacting together is what is known as interpersonal or dyadic communication. According to Understanding Human Communication, Eighth Edition, by Ronald B. Adler and George Rodman, interpersonal communication occurs when people treat one another as unique individuals. This is without regard of the context in which the interaction occurs or the number of people involved. Interpersonal or Dyadic communication is depicted in this movie in several instances, for example, Andy and Red are in so many instances and scenes communicating together. Andy also has several conversations with the warden alone, Brooks, a fellow inmate, also the head guard. Other instances constituting interpersonal communication is also seen between some of the other role players besides Andy.
Intimacy is a concept that is in close relations with interpersonal relationships. As it is defined, intimacy is a close union, contact, association or acquaintance. Intimacy can have several qualities, either being physical, intellectual sharing and even emotion. Relating this concept to the movie Shawshank Redemption, physical intimacy related to the scene where Andy’s wife and lover become sexually aroused and begin to get intimate. Andy’s wife and lover can also be said to have an emotional intimacy because they evidently portray exchange of important feeling. Andy too can also be said to have had an emotional intimacy to his wife because his wife’s infidelity almost drove him to commit murder. The scene also where Andy was raped by one of the inmates can also be termed as physical intimacy due to the sexuality involved. Andy is also intimate with Red, but in the form of intellectual sharing and exchange of ideas for they remain close friends throughout Andy’s life in Prison and also afterwards, when they are both free men.
Metacommunication is yet another concept stated in chapters six and seven and having relation to this movie. The term metacommunication can be used to describe messages that refer to other messages. It can also be defined as communication about communication. Metacommunication can be used as an important tool to solve conflicts and handle problems and also a way to reinforce the good aspects of a relationship by issues out in the open. Tommy, who was one of the inmates brought in to Shawshank Prison seventeen years after Andy had been convicted revealed to Red and later Andy about who killed his wife and lover. This depicted Andy as an innocent man and gave him hope that he would soon be a free man, but the outcome
of events reveal that this was not the case.
The concept of metacommunication also states that bringing relational issues out in the open does have its risks. This is evident in the movie because it cost Tommy his life after revealing the truth to Andy and the rest of the other inmates. Andy revealed to the warden what he was told by Tommy but the warden did not believe him and tried to convince him it was all lies. The warden then had Tommy set up and killed.
Communication climate is another term that relates to interpersonal communication. It refers to an emotional tone of a relationship and involves the way people feel about each other as they carry out activities, for example, families, coworkers and other relationships. In the movie, inmates were normally seen to work together often, spend times in the prison yard and they could also be termed as a family as they stuck by each other’s side and did favors for one another. This is evidently seen in the relationship Andy, Red and the rest of their friends had. It can therefore be termed as a conforming communication climate meaning it was a positive one.
In the movie, “Shawshank Redemption”, we can conclude by saying that for the most part, it did conform, relate or agree with the concepts of interpersonal communication. The writer and director Frank Darabont did an excellent job in producing a masterpiece that can and was used as a very good example in revealing the true meaning of communication as it is in our world today, and more so, interpersonal communication.