By Chinaza Ezeh
“Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” And that is exactly what The Shawshank Redemption is all about. An adaptation of Stephen King’s classic 1982 novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, the 1994 prison drama written and directed by Frank Darabont stars Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, William Sadler and James Whitmore, to name a few.
L to R: Andy and Red, played by Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman, respectively. Source: Hollywood Reporter
In the year 1947, banker Andy Dufresne (Robbins) is found guilty (although he denies it) of the murders of his wife and her lover, and is henceforth sentenced to two life sentences at Shawshank State Penitentiary. Upon arrival, he meets fellow inmate Red (Freeman) who is serving a life sentence of his own. The two take a liking to each other, and Andy is soon assimilated into Red’s friend group. Over the next nineteen years, Andy faces a multitude of trials and tribulations within those walls, including rape, corruption, and exploitation. The corruption and exploitation starts right at the top, from prison warden Samuel Norton (Bob Gunton), a man who swears by the Bible, yet ironically has no issue in the guards, particularly Captain Hadley (Clancy Brown), employing exceedingly brutal and violent force among the prisoners, nor in using Andy’s banking experience as a way to launder money and handle financials for the prison staff, guards from other prisons, and himself. Despite the bleakness of prison life, Andy is able to find joys in his new normal, particularly when he gains the privilege of working in the prison library, and takes it upon himself to completely revamp it and bring it to life. But perhaps more importantly than that, he makes true connections with Red and his friends, and from each other they experience the meaning of true friendship.