The Shawshank Redemption tells the story of the incarceration on false charges of a young Portland banker, Andy Dufresne in 1947 at the Shawshank Penitentiary. Andy (Tim Robbins) is sentenced to life in prison for the murder of his wife and her lover. In prison, he strikes up an unlikely friendship with a fellow inmate, Red (Morgan Freeman), who has been in Shawshank for 20 years. Shawshank is a cruel and unforgiving environment, with merciless guards and violent outbursts. Andy develops a deep friendship with Red, and the two learn to respect and help each other in many small and large ways.
As word of Andy’s financial expertise becomes more widely known, the warden, Norton, offers Andy a position working in the prison library, where he can help guards (and Norton) with their financial concerns. There Andy takes an interest in improving the library and helping to educate his fellow inmates, writing daily to the State Senate requesting more books, until they finally cave and meet his demands. Andy becomes a confidante and friend to his fellow inmates, and he builds a deep rapport and connection with them, all the while keeping his hope in humanity alive.
The movie traces two decades of Andy’s confinement and the people whose lives he touches, then shows us his masterful escape. In the final scenes we see him enjoying his freedom and meeting up with Red once more to give the story the happy ending we hoped it would get.
Not only is it my favourite film but many others love it too as it usually tops the charts when such matters are discussed.
Writer and Director Frank Darabont has got everything correct with this one. It’s labouring pace is perfect, the casting of Morgan Freeman is genius and in Tim Robins they have picked the perfect frontman.
Good films make the viewer bond with the key characters and this film certainly does that. They may be prisoners but you are behind them all the way as they face their daily battles with harsher inmates and corrupt wardens.
It is 2 hours and 22 minutes of brilliance and because of that is often repeated on the tv. It is a staple on Sky Movies while the mainstream channels also seem to show it every few weeks.
I am happy to dip in mid way through and I never dip out. I usually just flick it on with the plan to turn it off again soon after but once you have started watching you need to finish it.
If you haven’t seen it – go watch it. If you have seen it – go watch it again.
It’s the best film ever made and try as you might you won’t change my mind on that one.