Shawshank Redemption and Murder in the First are two eminently engaging films about corrupt prisons and issues such as brutality occurring within the walls.
“The Shawshank Redemption” is a compelling film about two imprisoned convicted murderers. Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), is innocent, however. Convicted of killing his wife and her lover (a crime for which he clearly had a strong motive), he really “didn’t do”. Of course, as his jailbird friend “Red” (Morgan Freeman) puts it, “Everybody in here is innocent.” Well, Red is “the only guilty man” in Shawshank Prison. As their friendship develops, Andy learns the ropes of prison. Meanwhile, the warden (Bob Gunton) decides that Andy, a well- educated former banker could carry out something more useful than laundry. So, he places Andy as the prison librarian, and later, as his an accountant (he does taxes for all the jail’s employees). Andy also assists the warden in money scams (as he tells Red, “I was always an honest man – I had to come to jail to become a crook!”)
Murder in the First takes a more realistic scenario and engages at a more full on approach. Henri Young (Kevin Bacon), arrived in the prison of Alcatraz after stealing $5 from a food store to feed his young sister. Young’s second mistake was an attempted escaped from the inescapable fortress, bringing public humiliation to the sadistic associate warden, Milton Glenn (Gary Oldman). In violation of the federal guidelines that mandate 19-day maximums for solitary confinement, Glenn orders three years of physical torture and isolation in a black dungeon five feet high. No light, no water. The broken, twisted man who emerges three years later immediately murders fellow inmate Rufus McCain, the informer who betrayed him, and is now on trial.Christian Slater portrays the young lawyer assigned to deal with the case as a learning experience, thus not expecting to win it. As the trial goes on, Slater proves to be more than a match.
As you can see, both of the films presented good storylines. But its the acting, camera techniques and plotting that make them stand apart from each other. While Murder in the first, showing the true story of one who went through the horrible ordeal made a good story, the film didnt shine as well as Shawshank Redemption as the extra efforts put in such as the originality makes it stand above the rest. Shawshank Redemption was very cleverly planned in the camera, special effects and music department. The two films didnt use much music and special effects as they werent necessary. While Murder in the first usually used music to make scenes more depressing, Shawshank put it in perfectly to make a theme more noticeable such as the beautiful music used when he receives an old record player and he uses it over the prisons speakers. Camera angles also added a point to the scoreboard for Shawshank as they primarily stuck to where the action was taking place while the camera angles in Murder in the First scrolled around as if they were filming a wrestling match.
Murder in the First had a semi decent cast as originality was not put in. The brutal inhumane warden, the hero lawyer and the mistreated prisoner simply does not have what it takes. In Shawshank Redemption, All the actors were terrific, and the film is intelligently plotted. Although normally it’s hard to find likeable criminals as film characters, Red’s personality is strangely genial. Andy’s quiet knowledge is also interesting to watch; you always know he’s thinking several steps ahead of everyone else around him
While I recommend both to be viewed, Shawshank stands out with its incredible originality and thoughtful storyline, definitely classed as one of the best films of this generation. Two movies that are recommended for the older more mature genre and highly for those who enjoy the pace of dramas and such ending for films.