creeboy at 2009-07-25 22:27:51:
Whenever my computer starts back up it is set to launch iTunes and play Red's "I hope" voiceover from the end of this film. Needless to say, it's a favourite of mine as well.
When I watch this scene now the first thing I notice is the wonderful slow zoom as Red speaks to the board from deep within his soul. Great decision by Darabont and Roger Deakins (DOP) which clearly demonstrates the intimate knowledge and understanding of the character's motivation.
Great too that there's no soundtrack to sell a song or manipulate the emotional content with a minor key. It's just the character. His stone cold eyes and his hopeless words.
At this point it seems apparent that Red has given up the chase and decided that freedom, his trickster, will never be caught. He is now completely without hope of the future and determined to live out the rest of his days within the walls of Shawshank.
Earlier in the movie I think Red actually still has a whiff of freedom and believes that he might get out and experience being a free man once more. It's still an attainable goal to a man who still has a vision of life outside.
When he sits down that last time there's nothing left but the nub of a spirit who once dreamed of tasting freedom.
If it's important to know what a character wants in each scene I think Red just wants to get out of the room because he's sick of the "bullshit". On every other occasion he sat there completely focused on getting out of prison.
I'm looking on IMDB and reading the film's tagline there:
Fear can hold you prisoner. Hope can set you free.
The contrast is great and it's no wonder that a master of story would be able to dig up so many fantastic moments with such a powerful jumping off point.
With that in mind I am considering the possibility that on each previous occasion that Red sat down in front of the board he was truly fearful that he would never get out. He HAD to find the right words and the right posture to convince them to let him be free. The thought of dying in prison was a horrifying prospect and so he lived in hope that one day, if he played his cards right, he would be released.
Sadly, each time that he tried to impress the authorities with what he thought they wanted to hear he was declined. Slowly over the years that flame diminished to a smoking ember - a man without hope or a promise of the future.
Finally, when the man is fearless and could care less, he tells them what he really thinks and how he really feels. Now when the old man has no idea what to do with freedom the trickster turns intent on challenging the man with a whole new set of hurdles and self doubts.
Freeman's performance is inspired. There's nothing in his eyes - they appear black and soulless and he is convincingly a man who has given up.
Thanks for the work you do on this blog. I visit regularly and value greatly the wisdom and lessons to ponder.