“The Shawshank Redemption (1997) – The Redemption of hope”
The movie opens with a court scene where Andy Dufrene (played by Tim Robbins) is charged with the murder of his wife and her lover. He pleads innocence but is given two life sentences to be served in The Shawshank State Prison. The narrative is by Ellis Boyd Redding aka Red played by Morgan Freeman. His sharp voice is made good use of by the director. There are many lines by Red which will linger in your mind long afterwards.
Red (also serving a life sentence) is a street smart man in the prison who has the ways to get different things like cigarettes, books and any other non-dangerous stuff if only for a price. Andy Dufrene enters the prison to serve his sentence. Prison life is no fairy-tale. On the first day when the prisoners arrive, the senior prisoners bet on who would break down first. Red bets on Andy to break down first and loses two packs of cigarettes.
Warden Norton makes it clear regarding the life in the prison on the first day to new inmates by saying
“I believe in two things: discipline and the Bible. Here you’ll receive both. Put your trust in the Lord; your ass belongs to me. Welcome to Shawshank.”
Warden Samuel Norton: [to new inmates, after explaining the prison routine] Any questions?
Prisoner: When do we eat?
Captain Hadley: [Approaches prisoner] You eat when we say you eat. You piss when we say you piss, and you shit when we say you shit. You got that, you maggot dick motherfucker?
Some prisoners take a liking to Andy sexually. They assault him and rape him. Andy shows up regularly with new bruises. He doesn’t say who did it to anybody but everyone knows.
The title has redemption in it. However my article so far looks so gloomy. The redemption in this movie happens in an epic way. I won’t reveal it for you. Sure as hell, it’s darkest before the dawn.
Tim Robbins plays the protagonist Andy Dufrene in a very simple naïve way. Maybe that’s the reason this movie is able to deal with themes like hope, redemption and life so well. Special praise to Morgan Freeman and Bob Gunton (who plays Warden Norton) for terrific contributions.
Please let me know how you found this article and more importantly this movie. Looking forward to your responses.