The Shawshank Redemption is a movie that I always had a feeling I’d love, even without actually having watched it. Thankfully, I can now say that I have watched it and I was 100% right about loving it. The cast is stellar, the pacing is just right, and everything felt like it really fell into place with the film.
Ellis Boyd “Red” Reddington (Morgan Freeman) and Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) become good friends over their time together at Shawshank. The friendship doesn’t happen right off the bat, either, which makes it feel more real. In fact, Red actually thinks that Andy will be the first of the new guys to cry and when he’s wrong, you sense the resiliency of Andy. Plenty of horrible things happened to him before things got better.
Because of how much time passes in the film, things move quickly. We see Andy’s arrival and before you know it, he’s running a whole little business by helping guards and inmates with taxes and anything else involving numbers really. He’s easily the smartest inmate in the prison, if not the smartest out of everyone, including the warden.
Warden Norton (Bob Gunton) makes things difficult for Andy, though, and you can’t help but feel bad for him. A lot of that is because there’s this lingering thought that he actually is innocent throughout the movie. Even though Red tells him that everyone in jail says they didn’t do it, there’s something about his demeanor that makes you believe him.
Andy’s escape is where things really heat up. He didn’t even tell Red that he had this planned. All we really saw was him beginning to chip away at the wall, but years later, he had a huge hole hidden behind various posters of famous women. Every time there was a milestone year for Andy, Red would gift him a new poster. Plus, the look on Red’s face when he sees it for himself is priceless. Andy outsmarted them all and he knew it right away.
Before his escape, though, Tommy (Gil Bellows) had a way to prove that Andy was innocent, but the warden couldn’t lose the guy cooking his books, so Tommy paid the price. That sets Andy over the edge just enough to take the warden down, which ultimately leads to his suicide. The Shawshank Redemption tells a fantastic tale of an innocent man who goes through some horrible trauma when he first gets to the prison and perseveres through it long enough to get himself out.
While there are several sad moments in the movie, by the end, you really do feel the redemption. Andy and Red got out and were able to live the rest of their lives as free men. It took decades, but when they meet up in the end, you just know everything is going to be just fine for them. The Shawshank Redemption is a wonderful movie that I shouldn’t have waited so long to watch.