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Movie reviews for The Shawshank Redemption

This classic movie won an Oscar for the first time director Frank Darabont and you can see why.

It is based on a short story “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption” by Stephen King, and focuses on the life of a young banker Andy Dufresne played by Tim Robbins(The Player), after being found guilty of the murder of his wife and her male companion.

He protests his innocence, but the judge seeing his demeanour paraphrased, says “you strike me as a particularly cold and remorseless individual… ” and sentences him to two life sentences.

Whilst in prison he befriends the local prison smuggler, Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding played magnificently(who was nominated and many felt deserved the Oscar for Best Actor in a leading role) by Morgan Freeman. There is a scene that might leave many a little befuddled, as Andy askes Red if he can smuggle in Rita Hayworth, Red replies no problem, narrating that whenever anyone needed anything they came to him, and you are left in two minds on what exactly this means.

It captures the torment of prison, and the prisoners struggles as their humanity is eroded. There is a particular poignant scene played by the late James Whitmore(Give ’em hell Harry) as Brooks Hatlen who has been released into a modern world after fifty years in prison, writing a letter to his friends back in jail, whilst his voice narrates the letter we are shown him struggling to get to grips with the modern world, such as crossing the road to avoid the many motor cars, he hardly ever saw when he was a kid.

Along with having to serve time for a crime he didn’t commit Andy also has to help the corrupt warden, Warden Norton played wonderfully by Bob Gunton(The Lazarus Project) siphon money obtained from using the prisoners as cheap workers into private accounts, as well as the Warden’s enforcer Captain Hadley played by Clancy Brown(Highlander, Kelvin Inman in Lost) prevent the government from taking huge chunk of tax from his inheritance. While in prison Andy tries to take his mind over the wrongful conviction by focusing on projects such as a prison library, carving out chess pieces, and helping Tommy played by a young Gil Bellows(Ally McBeal) pass his school exams.

This is a well directed movie, with superb performances from all and it is truly a wonderful case of the “indomitable human spirit“.

Andy Dufresne(Tim Robbins) and Red(Morgan Freeman) playing a game of checkers

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