A story of hope is just about the last thing you’d expect to find in a prison movie. But in The Shawshank Redemption, that’s exactly what you get.
Shawshank is the story of Andy Dufresne (Tim
Robbins), a man convicted of murdering his wife and her lover and shipped to a maximum-security prison in Shawshank, Maine, for two consecutive life sentences. Over the next years (two hours, movie time), he finds his way
to inner peace and self-reliance in the midst of the terror and inequity of
the prison system.
It’s also one of
those movies that is a work of both art and magic. It paints the picture of a man who
will not relinquish the only thing that cannot be taken from him by external forces:
hope. And yet, like Andy, you are completely
enveloped by Shawshank. From the first shot of the prison — an
utterly gothic structure that assaults you with a sense of foreboding — you get a sense of how grim life inside must be. You experience a prison life composed of routine and debasement.
The performances in Shawshank are
top notch, and the commentary upon the justice system is both thoughtful
and thought-provoking. This is
a film with remarkable staying power. It sustains its suspense and tension throughout; its remarkably hopeful story is thoroughly engrossing. In the end of it all, Andy will escape
Shawshank. You will escape Shawshank. But you will not escape The Shawshank Redemption.