A1 Movie Paper
After watching both The Shawshank Redemption and Escape From New York, the true pains of being imprisoned are exposed. In The Shawshank Redemption, it shows how prisoners become institutionalized and how they are unable to function in the free world after being in prison for too long. The first character in the movie to be institutionalized is Brooks, who is one of the senior most prisoners. After years of structure and control, Brooks becomes a free man and quickly realizes he is no longer able to survive in the ‘new’ world. While he was in prison the world drastically changed and was modernized, leaving him behind while he was behind bars. Brooks knew before he left the prison surviving in the free world would be a challenge and wasn’t sure he was ready. Before leaving he snapped and held a knife to a man’s neck, thinking that reoffending and staying in prison would be easier than making it in the real world. Andy Dufresne, the main character in the movie was successfully able to talk Brooks out of the idea and got him to put down the knife. Unfortunately, the success wasn’t long lived and soon after leaving the prison Brook’s fear of not making it in the world was confirmed. He realized he was unable to have a good life and decided to kill himself. Brooks is a great example of how challenging it is to reintegrate and be successful in society.
As the movie progresses it becomes evident prison life is taking a toll on Andy. Andy was an innocent man who was accused and convicted of the murder of his wife and her lover. He was a very smart man who was a successful banker before coming to prison. He was smart enough that he knew prison would try to deprive inmates of their liberty, goods and services, heterosexual relationships, autonomy, and security. He expressed to his close friends the importance music to him and how it was something the prison could never take away from him. He also had a deep interest in rocks and rock carvings. I believe he liked these things because they reminded him of the free world and it lessened the pain of imprisonment for him. He also lessened the pain by fighting for funds for a prison library by writing multiple letters every week. He knew if he could acquire these funds he would be allowed special privileges which would lessen the deprivation of autonomy. Andy was no stranger to the dangers of prison; because prisoners are deprived of heterosexual relationships many resort to homosexual relationships often using violence to coerce unwilling partners. This is what happened to Andy when he was raped by Boggs and the other sisters. When Andy refused sex acts he was viciously beaten but never gave in and always put up a fight. The guards were also a threat to the prisoners. During Andy’s first night at the prison, the guards beat a man so badly he didn’t survive the night. From day one Andy realized he had lost his security, the guards nor the other prisoners could protect him.
Andy witnessed corruption in the prison first hand. He was close friends with Red who was able to get prisoners goods and services from outside into the prison. The warden knew this underground smuggling was inevitable and there would be no way to prevent 100% of it. The warden even allowed Andy to hang up posters which were illegally smuggled into the prison by Red. After Andy gave financial advice to a guard he got the responsibility of doing the guard’s taxes. The warden then realizes he was in a position to utilize Andy’s talents and begins to have Andy file all of his financial paperwork, including the money he earned from the corruption he was involved in. Having the information for the warden’s bank accounts proved to be crucial in Andy’s successful escape from the prison. Andy felt he was forced to escape when the warden refuses Andy to clear his name when he discovered another inmate could prove his innocence. The warden didn’t want to lose Andy because he was exceptionally smart and his skills were very beneficial to the warden. This was the same predicament many prisoners faced in the days of transportation. During those days, hard workers were hard to find so when they found one they were not allowed to leave.
In the movie, Escape From New York, the prisoners were subjected to a similar environment as the days of transportation. Instead of being banished to a different country, the prisoners were sent to Manhattan Island. The prisoners sent to Manhattan were all sentenced to live out their remaining life there and escape was nearly impossible. However, unlike normal prisons manhattan island had an option in which the prisoners could choose to be euthanized. This option was available to the prisoners who felt as if they could no longer live with the pains of imprisonment, and death was their only way out. The main character of the movie was Snake Plissken who was an ex-military turned criminal. Snake was recruited by the commissioner, Bob Haulk to rescue the president who was kidnapped by the prisoners after Air Force One crashed in Manhattan Island. As a reward for the successful extraction of the president he would be offered a pardon for the crimes he had committed. To make sure Snake would stay true to his word, the commissioner planted miniature explosives in Snake’s neck that would detonate after 24 hours if not deactivated. As soon as Snake lands on the World Trade Center and begins to track the president’s bracelet, he realizes the dangers of the prison. Luckily, he met Cabbie who recognized Snake from his military career and was able to pick up Snake in his cab and bring him to safety. Cabbie informed Snake of how the prisoners set up a form of hierarchy in which a man called the Duke was at the top and how more than likely they were the ones with the president. Snake realized the prisoners here had no security because everyone was deprived of basic needs. Not only were they deprived of simple items like cigarettes, they would fight for food and anything worth money. They lived in total autonomy. With no rules, they would fight for survival and do whatever they felt necessary. This form of prison is a very interesting way to deal with prisoners, and although this movie was fictional it is very similar to the way crime was dealt with back in the days of transportation.
In conclusion these two movies although both fictional, highlight very real problems within prisons today. Although both of these movies take place in the past, the problems prisoners face are still problems in today’s prisoners. The Shawshank Redemption highlights the problems prisoners face like brutality, institutionalization, and corruption. Escape from New York on the other hand proposes a different method to deal with prisoners, one more similar to the days of transporting criminals to America and Australia. Both of theses films highlight the Pains of imprisonment and their effects on people.