Simply put one of the greatest films I have ever seen. The Shawshank Redemption is a film adaption of the Steven King novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption. It drops the viewer into the harsh reality of the 1940s American prison system with intimidating guards who will beat a man within an inch of his life and inmates who will do the same to those who don’t fit in. It’s not quite as Arkham Asylum, but they do leave a similar shiver down your spine.
Enter Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins). This banker unfortunately finds himself in the Shawshank State Penitentiary for the murder of his wife, which, he actually had no part in. Showing the complete efficiency and accuracy of the 1940s judicial system, this innocent man is condemned for life and is thrown into prison in which there is seemingly no hope for this former banker.
After he experiences months of beatings and worse for being ‘the new kid on the block’ he quickly befriends the prison smuggler, Red (Morgan Freeman). The two create a lasting bond that is at the core of their attempts to make the prison a better place for all.
What really stands out to me about this film is how well it stands the test of time; the scenes are just as shocking and the story ever inspiring. The story broken down is one man’s quest to improve the lives of others and mentally escape the dark and often frightening setting.
Robbins’ performance as the scheming banker is excellent in that he sustains the character of the clever and cunning Dufresne with a hugely convincing and heartfelt performance. What stands out is Andy’s desire not only to escape but to prove that he is the smartest man and often the most daring in the entire penitentiary.
Equally convincing, Bob Gunton’s interpretation of the callous sly Warden makes viewers want to lash out at the screen as he crushes the hope of all at the prison. But what really makes us angry is his emotionless response to all the bad he does. The heartless bastard.
The movie’s dark themes of violence and suicide are well contrasted with Andy’s knack for keeping going when things somehow manage to get even worse than they were before, which believe me, is very hard.
I am therefore giving this film a 9.0 star rating as it genuinely is one of the best movies of all time and I can definitely see why it is rated so highly on the IMDb top 250.