Newest Review: ... twists and turns and is told with such poignancy. Duration The film is 142 minutes long. Cost Its available on DVD for £5 from Amazon ... more
The Shawshank Redemption (DVD)
Member Name: jaygami1986
The Shawshank Redemption (DVD)
Disadvantages: The film is quite long
The ShawShank Redemption:
Run Time: 142 minutes
The Shawshank Redemption was filmed in Mansfield, Ohio. The prison used during the filming was the abandoned Ohio State Prison.
Cast: Tim Robbins (Andy Dufresne), Morgan Freeman (Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding), Bob Gunton (Warden Samuel Norton), William Sadler (Heywood), Clarey Brown (Captain Byron Hadley), Gill Bellows (Tommy Williams), Mark Rolsten (Bogs Diamond), James Whitmore (Brooks Hatlen), Jeffrey DeMunn (District Attorney).
- The Shawshank Redemption is an award winning dram written & directed by Frank Darabont in 1994. The film is an adaptation of the Stephen King novella “Rita Hayworth & Shawshank Redemption”. The film includes an all start cast including; the brilliant Tim Robbins (Andy Dufresne) & academy award winner Morgan Freeman (Ellis “Red” Redding)
General Plot and Storyline:
- Andy Dufresne a banker and insurance salesman is wrongfully convicted for the murder of his wife and her lovers. He is sentences to a double life sentence at one of the most notorious and well known prisons, “Shawshank Prison”. His willingness to clear is name is present throughout the film, however Andy soon realises his cries of freedom will not be heard, as everyone in prison is “innocent”. He eventually comes to terms with his settlement and as a few years pass, he realises his life is now in Shawshank prison.
During his first night in Shawshank, Andy is subjected to harsh and brutal treatment on behalf of the chief guard “Byron Hadley”, who sees if, fit to make Andy’s life a living hell. Coming to terms with his new life, Andy makes friends with the fellow prisoners namely “Ellis Reading” and his gang. The ultimate friendship between Andy and Reading now begins to develop and viewers can see this throughout the film. The two prisoners have so much in common, they are a perfect friendship, and they have the same beliefs, same hopes of freedom and same sense of humour. Their relationship is what gets both of them through at their stay in Shawshank prison. Reading the guy who can get you anything, soon gives Andy a gift in the form of a rock hammer, which helps Andy to find a new hobby in rock collecting, once again show throughout the film.
Andy deals with prison life the best he possibly can, he begins his early life working for the prison laundry service. It is there that he has his first altercation with the brutal homosexual gang “The Sisters”. Andy is subjected to sexual assault and abuse, and this makes Andy’s character very vulnerable. What’s pleasant to see is that Andy deals with the attack in such a dignified manor.
Andy’s knowledge of banking soon attracts the attention of the guards, who he helps to settle tax relief, set up college funds for their children and any general financial queries. Andy can finally put some good use in the prison, he sets up a library in the prison were he helps prisoners to read and write and obtain qualifications.
The financial knowledge also gets a keen eye from Warden “Samuel Norton”. The warden asks Andy to help him embezzle and launder money from one fund to another, which will help the Warden become successfully rich, without being caught. Andy did the duty as it would get the guards of his back, and allow his some small treats such as luxury food.
As the film develops, a new prisoner by the name of Tommy is introduced to the prison. A young and charming, good looking Tommy soon becomes a student of Andy. Andy helps Tommy to read and write, and helps him obtain a high school diploma which will be used to support his family upon release. Whilst in prison, Tommy tells Andy about the stories from his old prison. One being him sharing a cell with a convict who murdered a women and her lover and saw her husband, a banker being charged with the murders. Realising the story resembles his, Andy ask’s the Warden for assistance, but the warden refuses. Instead the warden has Tommy killed as having Andy released could open up clues to what the warden has done with the money.
In the months leading up to Tommy’s death, Andy cleverly escapes from prison, by tunnelling himself to freedom using the rock hammer Red once gave him. Once on the run, Andy who documented all the fraud the Warden had done sends it to both the authorities and the press, realising the warden is now facing arrest and imprisonment he kills himself. Red, who finally is released some time after Andy’s escape follows a map that Andy left him? The map leads him to a tree, which has direction to Andy’s position.
My Opinion on the film: In my opinion Shawshank Redemption has to be one of the best drama films ever made period. Its brilliant storyline/ plot and superb characters played by excellent actors, and the hard hitting themes made the film a huge success with cinema goers all over the world. So why is it that good? That’s easy, the plot is brilliant. It follows the lives & struggles of some of the most dangerous men in America, yet their characters seem so gentle and funny, that one starts to question why they are in prison to begin with.
The film deals with many central themes such as friendship, the dream of freedom, justice, cruelty and above all revenge. All of these themes put together one very interesting storyline. Andy’s integrity is also another central theme to the film. The man who is wrongfully imprisoned for the killing of his wife and her lover deals with his life sentence in such a dignified manor, to some extent he has prepared for his new life in prison. Furthermore, when his character is sexually assaulted by the “Sisters” gang, he deals with it again in such a dignified manor, he stood up and stood strong, with dignity and respect.
Another theme to the movie is friendship, which the viewers see throughout the film. The relationship between Andy and Red is perhaps the most delightful part of the film. The one thing a man finds hardest in prison is to find people he can trust and truly call friends. In Andy’s case, at first he stayed to himself, but coming to terms with his sentence his character opened up and made friends with red and his gang. They develop the type of relationship one would not to obtain in prison. They have the same interests, both highly intelligent, peaceful and yet have a shadowy cloud following them. This cloud is the ideology of some day seeing life beyond the prison walls. The friendship between them is show throughout the whole film, and it’s nice to see them once again reunite towards the end of the film.
Andy experienced some real brutality and injustice in the film. He was sexually assaulted by the inmates and physically assaulted by the prison guard, and was used by the Warden. What’s interesting was when Tommy a new character was introduced to Shawshank prison. Although this charming, funny, and charismatic prisoner seemed like a normal person he held the key to Andy’s release. Andy being the charitable man he is teaches Tommy how to read and write and even helps him pass his high school diploma. To some extent, Andy envisioned a peace of himself inside of Tommy, and wanted to help him succeed in life.
The punch line to the film was when Tommy rejoiced in a story about a cell mate who he stayed with. The inmate bragged about killing two people and the blame being placed on a baker who was the husband, ironically that being (Andy). Knowing that his freedom is almost half way their, he must now convince the warden to take some action, but the warden is scared that Andy being freed would result in him being caught for embezzlement. So instead of helping Andy out, he has Tommy killed, thus no evidence or proof. This is the last straw for Andy, and now he must find his own way of making justice.
I think another semi important character role was that of “Brooks Hatlen”. Brooks, the veteran prisoner inside Shawshank was one of the longest serving prisoners, having being sentenced when he was a young child. Brooks is released from prison and starts working at the local grocery department, however alone and miserable Brooks commits suicide. The importance of this theme was very crucial, why? Well because the idea that prisoners are set from release without proper social and environmental skills is real. Many prisoners, who have spent their whole lives in jail, need time to adjust to society and the way society has changed since he was last a free man. I think many lifers can relate to Brook’s situation.
- Andy Dufresne: Andy is the central character in the film. Arriving in Shawshank prison in 1947, Andy is wrongfully jailed for the murder of his wife and her lover. Settling into prison life Andy deals with many dramatic and emotional issues such as abuse, brutality and sexual assault, however he deals with each of these barbaric incidents with dignity. His life and story follows the friendship he has with Red played by Morgan Freeman. Andy having given up on all hope of clearing his name, decided to escape Shawshank prison by digging his way out of his cell. This was aided by a rock hammer given to Andy by Red. What’s very clever about the escape was that I as a viewer never once saw it coming. Andy had been in prison for so long, the idea of escape left our minds the moment he settled into prison. This feature made the story so much more fun and interesting.
- Ellis Boyd “Red” Reading: Red is Andy’s closest friend in the prison. Their relationship helps them get through each day in prison as best possible. When Andy escapes, he once again meets Andy at the Mexican Border, and there new lives begin to unravel. Red’s character has experienced several rejections for parole and this has always led him to believe he will die in prison; it’s a shock to say the least when we find his character a free man.
- Warden Norton: The bible preaching Warden is the man in charge of the whole prison. When finding out Andy is experienced in finance and banking, he uses him to embezzle money and use fraud accounts to hold money. It seems his character is only out to benefit himself, he uses Andy’s vulnerability and goodness to benefit himself. However, ironically he gets his comeuppance at the end of the film.
- Heywood: Heywood is a close friend of both Andy and Red, his eccentric attitude and love towards country music makes him a funny character to watch. He is the friend the fits in with the crowd, he’s not a follower; however at the same time he’s not a trend setter.
- Byron Hadley: Byron is the tough and brutal captain of the guard. His attitude towards Andy is brutal, always beating and threatening Andy. However there are two distinctive occasions in the film, which change the way his character treats Andy. Firstly, Andy helped Byron and the fellow guards with the personal tax papers, which made life easier for them all. Second occasion came when Andy was just about to be beaten by the “Sisters”; however Hadley stops the beating and helps Andy out. In doing so Hadley beats up the lead gang member Bogs Diamond. Byron’s brutal character also gets is comeuppance at the end of the film when he is arrested.
The films theme of friendship and determination made the film a real joy to watch. The plot and the characters really make the film well structured. Anyone who hasn’t seen this film must, anyone who has seen this knows just how great the film really is. 5 out of 5 for me once again.
Summary: Shawshank Redemption the greatest prison drama film ever made