Film: The Shawshank Redemption 1994 Directed by Frank Darabont
The Shawshank Redemption tells the story of a banker, Andy Dufresne, whom is sentenced to a life in prison for murdering his wife and her secret lover. Over 20 years at the Shawshank State Penitentiary, Andy befriends a fellow prisoner by the name of Red, “Ellis Redding”, a smuggler; he also is a key part to a money laundering scheme by the head prison warden.
As Andy helps a fellow inmate, Brooks, he works in the library and after the warden discovers his banking intelligence the whole prison community uses him to manage financial matters. Andy began as an under dog who was beaten by other inmates and never spoke a word. He was a middle to upper class man and was brought into another social heir-achy that brought danger, isolation but also comfort.
This so called comfort can be seen as a comfort in the social system after being locked in the walls for so long. Once setting the placement or where you stand within the social heir-achy of a prison, the world outside will pass by so quickly but you have the ease of little change and becoming in comfort with the environment you are in. I relate to this personally as when I moved towns and started school in Wanaka, it took me awhile to settle in and “find my place” as such. Unfortunately we do not come accustomed to a new environment in just one day, and now if I moved I would have to repeat the same thing somewhere else; I feel comfortable in my environment and know where I stand. It isn’t till Brooks sends a letter to Andy and the boys at Shawshank with his suicide letter when many of the men realise how they no longer feel confined in a ‘bad’ place but actually feel a sense of belonging. Another significant moment which I was compelled to think more about was when Red says to Andy, “all the men in here are free”, again it is a representation of how they feel the comfort of home. It is where they belong within the worldly society but the fact that they also have a place in the world that is not disregarded.
The Shawshank Redemption also illustrates the power of hope. Most likely one of the first signs of hope seen in the film is a poster of Rita Hayworth. Andy places this poster in his cell to remind him of the outside world and normal life but actually it is also hiding a hole that is dug over 25 years for his escape. This symbol is representing the beauty of hope. Like Andy says to red, “Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things and, no good thing ever dies” , hope is what gets him through time.
Comfort brought among the men and the optimism of hope are two things that make this film stand out. This film has many more messages that I am sure many viewers will appreciate and relate to, but overall this film leaves a viewer with a satisfied time and a lot to think about in the indulgent plot.