SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION-A REVIEW
HAppy New year 2010 my Friends . . . .
In a happy occasion as this, let us see about a feel good film.
Shawshank redemption is a movie about two men trapped in a prison, both for the same kind of crime .While One man is as guilty he is, the other is innocent. This movie is about the ugly face of the prison, and the beautiful face of friendship.
Andy Dufrense(Tim Robbins) , a hot-shot banker, who being sentenced for the murder of his wife and her secret lover, is brought to the Shawshank prison for his life imprisonment.
At first, Prison holds nothing friendly for Andy. On the first day, one of the ‘Fresh Fish’ to the prison dies getting beaten by the guards. Andy is subjected to all the hardships as well, including the problem with the ‘Bull queers’.
One day, Andy comes to visit Ellis Boyd (Red) Redding (Morgan Freeman), who is a local con inside the prison. He is the man who knows how to get things in the prison. Andy asks for a rock hammer from him. Red warns him of the surprise inspections and if he ever gets caught, Andy should never tell his name. Now, Red also wonders whether this hammer is for a tunnel under the wall or for bashing somebody’s skull. Andy just laughs and says that he will find out when he sees it. As it turns out, a rock hammer is just six or seven INCHES long and Red gets the joke.
Sometime later, Andy and Red, along with others volunteer for resurfacing the roof of a prison factory. Andy happens to help a guard regarding his tax, by giving him some ideas on how to save his Inheritance money and does the paperwork for the price of three beers apiece for his co-workers. This wins him some friends and among them is Red.
Soon after this event, all the guards in the prison including the warden, seeks Andy’s advice and Andy is protected by the guards and is made the assistant for prison librarian. When one of the bully queer beats Andy to death, with nothing but a hair to spare, that queer is attacked by the guards later, by which he gets severely injured and never walks again.
Andy is benevolent to both the guards and the prisoners. Though the inmates see him as a great friend, the guards just see him just as a cheap labour .Rather well put, as nothing but a pet.
About 19 years pass by. Tommy Williams arrives into prison for breaking and entering .Though a thief, he is really good at heart and he is what he is because of his family condition and because of his childhood. But, Tommy wants to change and seeing that Andy has managed to get high school equivalencies to many people in prison, he goes to Andy and tells his wish.
Andy sort of becomes the mentor to him and teaches the illiterate Tommy right from the scratch. One day, he comes to know from Red what crime Andy is in for. To everybody’s shock, he tells that he spent some of his prison time with a man called Elmo Blatch, who described in vivid detail how he killed a golf pro and his lover and how the husband of that lover got framed.
Finally getting an evidence to prove his innocence, Andy rushes to the warden and tells him all about this. But, the corrupt warden does not like this as Andy knows all of his dirty secrets. He banishes Andy to solitary confinement for a month and subtly kills Tommy.
Andy gets very upset and refuses to do anymore dirty work for the guards. But, the warden coerces him into doing everything once again. Andy isolates himself and Red, after hearing that Andy got a rope from one of the inmates, suspects that Andy might commit suicide. Meanwhile, Andy asks Red to go and visit a certain spot, if he ever gets paroled. To everybody’s astonishment Andy escapes from the prison. Why did Andy escape? What happens to the warden? Was ever Red paroled? What was in that place?
The performances of both the lead characters Red (Morgan Freeman) and Andy (Tim Robbins) is good and competes with one another. This movie has a good story, a fitting end, very good characters and a stunning performance from everyone.
This movie visualises the prison life very vividly. Everything including the contempt for the new prisoners, the problems faced by the inmates by both the guards and by the inmates themselves, the queers, the atrocity of the guards and the sheer violence are shown so vividly. Though the main theme of the movie is based on prison life, this movie does not dwell on the problems alone. It is true that it is there. But, it is subtle.
This movie is really about the friendship between two guys inside a prison, the amity that prevails in that god-forsaken prison amongst the prisoners, though haunted by the monopoly of the guards and by the astringent rules.
The movie also talks about the impact it inflicts in a prisoner’s life. The worst thing about the prison is that, at first you hate it. Later, you get used to it. Enough time passes, you start being dependant on it and you get addicted to the system itself, so that you’ll start asking permission for virtually everything, even to go for a pee. Brooks, the prison librarian, when released after about 50 years of imprisonment, kills himself, unable to cope up with the outside world. While we are scared of the prison world and its people, when they serve imprisonment long enough and hard enough, they start fearing the outside world. Ironical,huh? At one point, Red tells that when people are sent to prison for life imprisonment, that is what it precisely takes. Their lives.
It might happen so that you just might have seen dozens of films based on prison life, having the elements like, the harassed prisoner, the queers, the acrid guards and things like that. But, this film also talks about the friendship that exists inside that four walled jungle. As far as I know, only two movies regarding prison life managed to dumbfound me. The first is this one and the next is ‘In Hell’. I got this movie after seeing all the glowing reviews. But, I held on to it like a miser, not seeing it, afraid that it might not meet up my expectations. But, right now, I’m berating myself for not have seen this movie long before.