The Film The Shawshank Redemption is a film which was based entirely around central themes. Those include Freedom as Norton said "Freedom lies within", redemption and the fact that it lay in truth and finally, the cornerstone of friendship and loyalty. All these themes are emphasized by Frank darabont's use of lighting, and how it adds importance to the scene's and helps the viewers understand the scene and the characters.
In the first still frame of the guards looking up at the prisoners, a low-angle shot is used of them as a focal point. Standing in their black uniforms like that of Nazi storm troopers, with the ability to blend into the darkness"YOU EAT WHEN WE SAY YOU EAT! YOU PISS WHEN WE SAY YOU PISS! YOU SHIT .
WHEN WE SAY YOU SHIT! YOU SLEEP WHEN WE SAY YOU SLEEP!" .
The lighting of this shot emphasizes a feeling of inferiority, as it dims the prison by adding a sense of fear of the guards, as they appear to be all powerful and in control through the use of the weapons guns and its closed frame.
The low-angled shot gives the structure a feeling of oppression, and dominance. Through lighting this all comes together, through lighting haze, darkness, streams of light and light focus on the aggressors. Thus adding to the theme of dominance and power "Put your trust in the Lord your ass belongs to me" A false feeling and one of hypocracy.
In contrast to that scene the roof scene which is one of the most powerful scenes in the film, has heavy dominant horizontal lines with soft sepia lighting. With a soundtrack which comes off as uplifting, relaxing and tranquil as the group shot is engulfed in a beautiful sunset emphasizing the theme of freedom, and how close these men are to that. The sense of the light tone and colour add to the feeling of satisfaction relief and pride these men felt. "Andy just sat there with this massive grin on his face" Lighting in this scene ripples a feeling of the redemption yet small it was significant for all their hard work, and like a cool breeze the light refreshed their spirits.