Movie Review – the Shawshank Redemption (1994)

The Shawshank Redemption is the best film that I have viewed this year. It is a most unusual story which takes us behind the walls of fictitious Shawshank prison where Andy Dufresne (played by Tim Robbins) has just been incarcerated. However, Andy has been emphatic that he did not kill his wife and her lover. A former respected accountant, Andy is far different from his fellow inmates and keeps his distance from them when he arrives at Shawshank.

He is befriended by convicted murderer “Red” when he is beaten and abused by the inmates as well as the guards. Soon Warden Norton recognizes that Andy has skills that he can use to advantage and assigns him as a library assistant to an inmate called Brooks (James Whitmore) who has been imprisoned for forty years. We soon learn that, in spite of his bible-spouting, Warden Norton is conducting a lucrative money-laundering scam behind the prison walls. He engages Andy to help him set up the books. A fictitious name was chosen for the bank account, driver’s license, social security number, etc.

Meanwhile, the prison guards discover that Andy can help them with their tax forms, setting up trust funds and real estate transactions. His life in Shawshank went on for 19 years. As for Red, he had petitioned every year for his parole for 30 years without success.

When a new prisoner comes into their midst, a young man with a wife and child who was convicted of B & E (breaking and entering), Andy’s fortunes change dramatically. The new prisoner, Tommy, recounts that his cellmate in another prison admitted to him that he had killed a woman and her lover and that the woman’s accountant husband was sent to prison for the murders. When Warden Norton learned of this revelation, his access to Andy’s skills becomes endangered. His secret life begins to unravel.

What becomes of the fictitious bank account? Are Andy’s utensils for carving chessmen useful for another purpose? Does Red finally get his parole with the advent of an honest warden? If you decide to watch this wonderful film, you will learn the answers.

Morgan Freeman was nominated for both the Academy Award and the Golden Globe Award for his portrayal of Red. He should have won. He did a superb job. In spite of this snub, The Shawshank Redemption tops the list of the Best Prison Movies of All Time.


Movie – The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

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