The Shawshank Redemption

The Shawshank Redemption 
Release Date: 23rd September 1994
Director: Frank Darabont
Rating: 15
Castle Rock Entertainment 

How has it taken me this long to see it? I’ve known about it for years, been told how great it is numerous times and yet tonight was the night I finally sat down to watch it after ordering a copy on eBay. A tale of friendship which has no equal and the thought that prison can be all you know. If you commit a crime and end up there of course, it isn’t something I’d ever know…

A banker sent to prison for a crime he didn’t commit and thus a long sentence is carried out at Shawshank. Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) is that banker and he quickly befriends the ‘man who can get you things’ Red (Morgan Freeman). Morgan narrates the whole story and we see the good, the bad and the ugly of life at prison. Prison is a case of routine, something you get used to, the bonds and general life replace the life you had outside the cells in such a way that leaving after such a long stay can be too much to bear. As the film states, a lot of men walk into prison with multiple life sentences on their backs and come out in an almost alien world. If they had a sense of importance while in prison such as librarian, they end up as a nobody in the real world. The open outside seems a scary place, agoraphobia in every lifetime serving prisoner. Despite the film being about people serving time for crimes such as murder, you really do feel for the characters as they repent and don’t want to leave. To think in most prison films freedom would be a good thing.

And that gives us the other side of the coin with Andy who believes in a little thing called hope. Clinging onto this concept gives some optimism to the negative oppressive feelings the prison can give out, and we being to see a change as Andy works hard to benefit his new friends and himself. It leads to an incredibly emotion ending. I did tear up and I thought to myself how truly flawless this film is. No matter how great the film, there is usually something I dislike. Maybe one line or small scene which could break the world the film has engrossed me into watching for over two hours, but not here. The dusty claustrophobic setting, the peaceful colours of the library, Freeman’s soft narration, the use of rain and lightning near the end to express what Andy has been seeking and the cast and pace never teetering into being too long or short. The idea of a small enforced place being a new world and the life sentence killing most men’s hope of life outside has me thinking, writing and will likely stick in my mind for years. And how many things can do that?


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