The Shawshank Redemption (1994) Movie Review

It's been 25 years since Stephen King and Frank Darabont created this great work. I know that everyone can be touched by beautiful things, but i still want to ramble on a bit.

In my eyes, The Shawshank Redemption is about belief, freedom and friendship.

[1] belief

Red says that hope is dangerous and a source of mental anguish. Thirty years heavy squeeze in prison did qualify him to say that. For from the day he came in, the warden said, "Give your soul to God and your body to me. Except for the cigarettes and the playing cards with the naked women printed on them he could get, no other movement could grow within the high walls of this darkness.

but Andy tells him, "Remember, Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things and no good thing ever dies!"

Andy & Red

So Andy was able to spend twenty years digging the tunnel that Red think couldn't be drilled through for six hundred years. When he finally climbed out of the 500 yards of stinking sewage pipes and stood in the pouring rain, it was as if we saw Faith pierce through the dark curtain and strike a thunderbolt in the dark night.

In our ordinary lives, we are used to taking things step by step, to saying "that's not possible" first. But how do you know if you don't try?

Try to hold on some beliefs before they are lost. They may not finally come to pass, they may not make our life more meaningfully - and even for myself, they only bring me more and more emptiness. But I know I need such hypocrisy and self-deception, you can say I am dreaming, but I will not be the only one.

We have already seen that when the warden opened the Bible with Andy's chiseled hammer hidden in it, the page he turned to was precisely "the Exodus". This chapter describes in detail the process by which the Jews escape from Egypt.

[2] Freedom

To this day, I never understood what these two Italian women were singing about. In fact, I don't want to understand it. Some things are better left unsaid.

The voice soared, high into the clouds, more than any prisoner in confinement could dream of, as if a beautiful little bird, flying into this gray aviary, making those walls disappear, making all the prisoners in the bars, feel a moment of freedom.

As Andy defiantly plays The Wedding of Figaro over the prison loudspeaker, the camera slowly paddles past the inmates and guards who are airing out in the square. They were moved to stand still, leaving behind all their bitterness, vitriol and resentment, and basking in the sunshine of freedom. Mozart's music was spread over these people, and the wonderful notes seemed to wash them all clean.

That's when I understood Andy's intentions. When repairing the roof, he fought for beer for everyone, in fact he fought for that feeling of being at home as repairing his own roof, so he didn't drink but smiled with great happiness; playing the Figaro's wedding was also to wake them up.

But the strong are in the minority after all, more people choose to be imprisoned. Brooks, who has spent fifty years in the prison, hurt his cellmates in order not to be paroled and stay in prison. Is that weird? Freedom is supposed to be something that people aspire to and seek. But the Brooks have ruled themselves under the rules of the prison; they need rules, they need order, and without them, they cannot even survive.

These walls are funny. First you hate them, then you get used to them. Nuff time passes, you get so you depend on them. That's institutionalized.

While Brooks has been set free in body, the soul has been irretrievably institutionalized. He did not get out of his inability to adapt to freedom and hang himself. And wise as Reid, after his release from prison, he sadly found that he even had to report to his manager to pee, otherwise he couldn't squeeze a drop. He also considered breaking the law in order to return to prison, and even considered dying like Brooks.

Busy for living, or busy for death. people should probably stop in occasionally to see what they look like. We will eventually learn that people who are accustomed to obeying various rules will pay a great price to get used to the freedom that belongs to each individual. 

[3] Friendship

This film has nothing to do with love, except betrayal. What there is is just friendship between the men in prison. The kind of friendship Red and Andy under the high wall seemed more pure and clean. They are both introverted people, yet insightful and attuned. I love that sentiment. So they smile as they finally met on the sunny sands of a small Pacific island.

If I were in Shawshank, who would I be? If you were in Shawshank, who would you be?

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