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Movie Review –The Shawshank Redemption  

Here is another review that was hard to do, as it is so familiar and I know I will subconsciously be borrowing from other people work or commentary. Anyway, this movie, totally centres around one man, Andy Dufresne who was sent to prison in 1947 for life, for the murder of his wife and her lover. A friendship begins with a fellow prisoner, Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding, who had so far spent twenty years in prison, also for murder. He is one of the few prison contraband smugglers, “the man who knows how to get things”. There was always a mystery about Andy. It was hard for him for the first couple of years, but a few years later, a big break came for him. Taring a roof of one of the prison buildings, Byron Hadley, the captain of the guards, bad and as mean if many of the inmates of Shawshank Prison, was complaining to his fellow workmates of having to pay a hefty inheritance tax. Andy, being a former bank manager, he was able to help give financial advice to Hadley how to keep all of the money, which would lead to giving advice to other prison guards, which eventually led him to do all their tax returns, including Samuel Norton, the Warden of Shawshank Penitentiary. It would later lead to Andy to become Norton’s personal accountant and his illegal business dealings.

I sometimes like to avoid spoilers when giving reviews to movies. I am making this one of them. Be warned, being a prison movie, there is violence, dreadful language and at times horrible blaspheming. While Samuel Norton may pride him to be a strong church going Christian, and issues Bibles for all the new inmates, he is anything but, as you see as you see in the film. His greed for money is his first love. He would be leading a double life as the nice, generous man at his Church, and his true self at the prison he runs. On his office wall is a framed tapestry with the inscription ‘His Judgment cometh, that right soon’ a paraphrased Bible verse of God’s coming wrath to all sinners who refuse to repent. At the end of the movie, this becomes an ironic message for him.

This is still one of my favourite movies, of of the greatest of all time, despite my hesitance to watch violent, foul mouth films. You are engaged with all the prisoners, who made terrible mistakes and judgments in their youth and are paying for it, most getting the punishment they deserve. Their friendship’s grow on you. In real life we should be ready to believe there is hope for all people who have fallen short of the glory of God. They need love, they need repentance but making no excuse for the crimes they have committed. As I said at the start, film is about the friendship between Andy and “Red”, a bond that will be with them for the rest of their lives.

Directed: Frank Darabont Starring: Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton, William Sadler, Clancy Brown, James Whitmore Genre: Drama Music: Thomas Newman Rating: 16+ Year: 1994


Note: This movie review is from Carl Strehlow, a valued member of Coffin Nation.


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