The Shawshank Redemption - Review

I saw “The Shawshank Redemption” with close friend Vivek last weekend. I had no clue about this 1994 movie, written and directed by Frank Darabont. It was Vivek who told me that he has heard - it’s a great movie and we went ahead and saw that. After seeing it I feel that it has to get into my list of best movies that I have ever seen. It’s an amazing movie where you see great performances from everyone and at the end of it leaves you inspired.

The story is about a banker (Andy Dufresne played by Tim Robbins) who is framed for a double murder in the 1940s and begins a life sentence at the fictional Shawshank prison. The film gives a detailed insight about life in the prison.

This dialogue by Morgan Freeman (who plays Ellis "Red" Redding) says it all about life in a prison.

The first night's the toughest, no doubt about it. They march you in naked as the day you were born, skin burning and half blind from that delousing s--t they throw on you, and when they put you in that cell, 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. Most new fish come close to madness the first night. Somebody always breaks down crying. Happens every time. The only question is, who's it gonna be? It's as good a thing to bet on as any, I guess.
So as he says they all used to bet on who is going to break down first, whenever a new lot of prisoners used to arrive at Shawshank. Red goes ahead and bets his money (cigarette packs) on Andy Dufresne. Red later says

His first night in the joint, Andy Dufresne cost me two packs of cigarettes. He never made a sound.
The Prison Warden Samuel Norton’s words while welcoming prisoner to Shawshank gives a picture about the environment at the prison.

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
The story is about how he executes his detailed long-term plan to escape from the prison. His friendship with Red and his conduct during his long stretch in prison where he gains admiration by the other inmates all falls in place in the lager scheme of his escape plans.

Andy takes the help of Red, who is known to source small bit of items into the Prison, to smuggle in a rock-hammer (six or seven inches long and looks like a miniature pick-axe) which he eventually uses to create an escape route.

He uses his past experience as a banker and his knowledge of accounting and income taxes to get into the good books of every guard in the prison, and, finally, the Warden by helping them in their tax matters. He also gets involved in developing the prison library by requesting more funds from the government.

He also becomes deeply involved in Warden Norton's illegal money-laundering operations. When working for the Warden, Andy creates a false identity so the Warden can hide the money laundered. This is what he uses when he gets out of prison.

This is a great line that Andy says about himself.

The funny thing is, on the outside, I was an honest man, straight as an arrow. I had to come to prison to be a crook.
There was a scene where Andy plays music on the public address system and is sent to solitary confinement for 14 days. When he comes back his friends ask how did he go through that time. Then what follows is this wonderful conversation.

Andy: I had Mr. Mozart to keep me company...[He points and taps his head] It was in here. [And he gestures over his heart] And in here. That's the beauty of music. They can't get that from you. Haven't you ever felt that way about music?...Here's where it makes the most sense. You need it so we don't forget...that there are places in the world that aren't made out of stone, that there's, there's somethin' inside that they can't get to, that they can't touch. It's yours.
Red: What are you talkin' about?
Andy: Hope.
Red: Hope?
Let me tell you something, my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane. It's got no use on the inside. You'd better get used to that idea.
Andy answers this negative feeling of Red later on in the movie in the letter that he writes to Red. Before escaping Andy asks Red to go to a specific place (after getting out in parole) where he would find something (the letter). The letter says

Dear Red, If you're reading this, you've gotten out. And if you've come this far, maybe you're willing to come a little further. You remember the name of the town, don't you? I could use a good man to help me get my project on wheels. I'll keep an eye out for you and the chessboard ready. Remember, Red. Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things and no good thing ever dies. I will be hoping that this letter finds you, and finds you well. Your friend, Andy
At Red's latest parole, rather than eagerly asking for parole (as he always did), he remarks that he doesn't care what happens to him, feeling that rehabilitation "is a bullshit word". A beautiful dialogue follows after which his parole is approved.

Rehabilitated? Well now, let me see. You know, I don't have any idea what that means...I know what you think it means. To me, it's just a made-up word, a politician's word so that young fellas like yourself can wear a suit and a tie and have a job. What do you really want to know? Am I sorry for what I did?...There's not a day goes by I don't feel regret. And not because I'm in here or because you think I should. I look back on the way I was then. A young, stupid kid who committed that terrible crime. I want to talk to him. I want to try and talk some sense to him. Tell him the way things are. But I can't. That kid's long gone. This old man is all that's left. I gotta live with that. 'Rehabilitated?' That's just a bullshit word. So you go on and stamp your forms, sonny, and stop wasting my time. Because to tell you the truth, I don't give a shit.
It’s a great movie .. I recommend everyone watches it … at leisure … coz its not a movie to be watched in a hurry … It requires that you hear the dialogues really well to appreciate it. And if you do it that way you will also agree with me that it is one of the best movies ever made.

1 comment:

shanx said...

xcellent movie!!!!!!
it's not abt the storyline
but the dialogues so powerful,so touching

The best being:
"hope is a good thing,may be the best of things and no good thing ever dies"

I find I am so excited I can barely
sit still or hold a thought in my
head. I think it is the excitement
only a free man can feel, a free
man at the start of a long journey
whose conclusion is uncertain...

I hope I can make it across the
border. I hope to see my friend
and shake his hand. I hope the
Pacific is as blue as it has been
in my dreams.