**Remember, spoilers abound!**
A few years ago, I read a great novella by Stephen King, called Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption. I knew a movie had been made about it, and I knew that it was a really big deal, but I guess that all the hype made me think that that’s all it was–hype. False.
Banker Andy Dufresne, played by Tim Robbins, is sentenced to life in Shawshank Prison for the murder of his wife and her lover. His first two years on the inside are brutal and horrifying, as he finds himself subjected to visits from “the sisters.” Eventually, he puts his education to great use, rehabilitating the prison library and cooking the books for the warden’s money laundering operation. After nearly 20 years in prison, made tolerable by his friendship with Red (Morgan Freeman in a well deserved Academy Award nominated role), Andy breaks out, having dug a tunnel, hidden by pinup posters. He goes free, then Red follows after a frank parole hearing, and the two men eventually meet up in Mexico.
Honestly, from the description, it doesn’t sound very unique. Then, you have to remember who wrote the source material. Say what you will about Stephen King, but the man is a literary genius. He’s not just the master of the macabre and horror king. Many of his tales are suspenseful and quite touching. This is no exception–in either form.
It’s a brilliant movie, well constructed, solidly acted, at once beautiful and terrible. It’s got a great message of hope in the midst of darkness, that even though circumstances are just about as bad as can be, there is always hope. It really is powerful. It’s a long con job by a man who works the system which destroyed his life.
This is one of my favorite quotes from this film, and it fully sums up the themes of this phenomenal film.
Andy Dufresne…crawled through a river of s— and came out clean.
4.5 out of 5 stars