When Andy Dufresne’s wife and her lover are found murdered, having been shot in bed, her husband, Maine banker Andy (Tim Robbins), is the prime suspect.
This supposition swiftly becomes an assumption, as it emerges that Andy had discovered the affair and the couple had a heated, alcohol-fueled argument shortly before the murders took place.
When circumstantial evidence is added to the obvious motive, the only possible outcome is a conviction. And so, as Andy begins his life sentence in Shawshank State Prison, the film begins in earnest.
The Shawshank Redemption examines issues such as hope, despair, friendships in times of adversity and the harsh realities of a life sentence.
However, it is human resilience that is lingered on throughout the film and, for this to be fully explored, Andy is paired up with the reflective ‘Red’ (Morgan Freeman) who provides the voice-over to Andy’s silent initiation and eventual apparent resignation to his situation.
Andy is the archetypal example of just how much physical and mental torment human beings can endure and, like everyone else in prison, Andy learns to get by.
His business background and obvious education elevate him to a certain status, as he takes on the role of accountant to the prison’s staff. Despite this surface display of equality, it isn’t long before Andy is reminded, in no uncertain terms, that he will always be a con, inferior to all but fellow cons, regardless of his brain.
However, it is Andy who has the last laugh.
The Shawshank Redemption was a box office failure when it was released in September 1994, but has gone on to become a certified classic.
Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding