"The Shawshank Redemption" Movie Review

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“The Shawshank Redemption” Movie Review

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Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • The Characters and Narrative in The Shawshank Redemption
  • The Significance Behind the Title of Shawshank Redemption
  • Conclusion


The Shawshank Redemption is a movie produced by Niki Marvin and directed by Frank Darabont. The Shawshank Redemption is a motivational drama which deals around the life of Andy Dufresne (starred by Tim Robbins) who has been sentenced to two life terms for the murder of his wife and lover.

The Shawshank Redemption is a film set inside a prison. It creates a warm hold on our feelings because it makes us a member of a family. Shawshank is not one of those movies that offer us vicarious experiences and quick, superficial emotions. It uses the narrator’s calm and observant voice to include us in the story of men who have formed a committee inside the bars. The Shawshank Redemption is deeper than most movies. It is based on friendship and hope and about continuity in lifetime.

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The Characters and Narrative in The Shawshank Redemption

The main character, the hero of the film is Tim Robbins (as Andy Dufresne) who is a convicted former banker. The opening scene of the film shows reason why Andy being convicted for the murder of his wife and her lover. Andy put eight bullets (four on each) in them. After this, the main plot of the film starts which is set at the Shawshank prison. The complete film is narrated through the point of view of another prisoner, Ellis ‘Red’ Redding (starring Morgan Freeman).

The film rotates around the life of prisoners. It gives an impression of how people lose hope and give up living. The life as portrayed in the movie shows how new prisoners are attacked by the previous prisoners to fulfil their need. It also shows how money can be used to get several items smuggled into the prison and bet based on the smuggled item.

The complete movie revolves on how other people see Andy from the day of his arrival on the prison to the film’s end. Starting with Red, who becomes Andy’s best friend, Brooks the old librarian, the corrupt Warden Norton, guards and prisoners. Red is our surrogate. He is the one we identify with, and the redemption, when it comes, is Red’s. Andy’s character in the movie shows us that we have keep true to ourself and not lose hope, bide our time, set a quiet example and look for a chance. The key to the film’s structure is that its not about the hero but about the relationship we share with him – our curiosity, our pity and our admiration.

The Significance Behind the Title of Shawshank Redemption

The Shawshank Redemption as the title of the movie last excitement. Generally, the ‘redemption’ based movies are approached with great wariness. Many people are not thrilled by the prospect of a great film – it sounds like great work. But this film has a hunger for messages of hope, and when a film offers one, it’s likely to have surviving power even when the immediate audience is not great enough.

The Morgan Freeman’s character is the carrier of the film’s spiritual arc. He was seen at three parole hearings after 20, 30 and 40 years. In the first and second hearing, he tried to convince the jury that he has been rehabilitated but in the third hearing, he busted on the idea of rehabilitation and somehow managed to set his spirits free. There is an underlying problem. Behind bars, Red is King. He’s the prison fixer who can get you a pack of cigarettes, a little rock pick or a Rita Hayworth poster. But on the outside, he has no identity or status.

The movie’s motive becomes clear when Brooks the librarian commits suicide after being released from prison. He committed suicide because he was lonely and adrift in freedom. It shows us importance of hope in our life. Several example of hope have been shown in the movie. Starting from Andy doing the accounts of the entire guards and warden to getting the government to pay for the renovation and upgradation of books in the library. The last act in the movie shows Andy’s efforts and planning to escape prison. It took him approx. twenty years to dig a tunnel in the wall hidden behind the Rita Hayworth poster. He digged the tunnel using the small rock pick. Not only did he plan his escape, he even laundered money from Warden Norton’s account to a non-existing person account. Finally when he escaped, he took the identity of that person and all the money. The final act in which Andy helps Red accept his freedom is deeply moving. This is so because Andy again operates at a distance, with letters and postcards, and is seen through Red’s mind.


Darabont constructs the film to observe the story, not to punch it up or upstage it. Upstaging, in fact, is unknown in this film; the actors are content to stay within their roles, the story moves in an orderly way, and the film itself reflects the slow passage of the decades. "When they put you in that cell," Red says, "when those bars slam home, that's when you know it's for real. Old life blown away in the blink of an eye. Nothing left but all the time in the world to think about it." Watching the film again, I admired it even more than the first time I saw it. Affection for good films often grows with familiarity, as it does with music. Some have said life is a prison, we are Red, Andy is our redeemer. All good art is about something deeper than it admits.

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