Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) is a rich banker who is accused of murdering his wife and her lover; he is clearly innocent but there's no possible way to proove that so he is sent to jail with 2 lifetime sentences. After Andy goes to jail he establishes a friendship with Red (Morgan Freeman) who is the guy that can get things, Andy asks Red for some stuff such as women posters to put on his cell's wall. By the time Andy joines Red has already 20 years in prison, he's not a bad person really, he just commited a stupid mistake when he was about 18 years old.
Andy made history in the Shawshank prison, he made many things that noone ever did before; He built a library and started helping some guys getting their High School diplomas, and more important he was using his banker knowledge to make some dirty work for the prison's Warden Mr. Norton (Bob Gunton), in return Andy has what you'd call a 'good' life in jail. A young man who joins the prison knows something that might help Andy get out of jail, but since he was so important to the Warden, this made it impossible for him to even attemp to get a new trial. Andy had always talked with Red about what he'd do if he ever gets out, where he'd go and how he'd do it, but Red tells him those are just dreams. Although the story is pretty long, and while you watch it it seems much longer than it actually is, I'll limit the story telling to what I've said so far. This isn't the kind of film you'd like to read everything about it in a review, maybe general comments but if you want to see the whole story you have to see it for yourself.
This is a prison film, but the main subject in here is Andy's dreams of freedom. He was a very smart, calmed guy who wouldn't even talk too much, but there wasn't a single day in prison that Andy wouldn't think about getting out of there. His friendship with Red was pretty cool, Freeman played the humble and not-so-clever man pretty damn well, his facial expressions are always in relation with the current situation. This film also happens to have one of the best (if not the best) narrating of all times, Freeman being the narrator. The stuff he says in that calmed tone of voice is just awesome to hear, nobody could have done that part better. I think this is Tim Robbin's finest acting job up to date, although he didn't got many recognition for his role in this film I'd say it has the quality of some Oscar winning performances.
The film also shows how people get used to prison after they've been there for very long, sometimes prisoners get to the point where they don't actually want to get out. It also makes the audience realize how boring life in prison can be once you've been there for years, and people like Andy would sometimes make sacrifices just to entertain the other prisoners. It was also very interesting for me to watch Andy get out of troubles by using his intelligence, sometimes what it appears to be something totally crazy will have some good effects in the future. While watching the film you'll get to really hate the Warden and Captain Hadley (Clancy Brown) who are very cruel to whoever does something they consider is wrong. You'd be happy at the end when Red narrates what happened to them after a series of event happened. The cool thing about this film is that opposite to other prison films, this one never shows a sign of a scape plan, and when you see the end you'll be very surprised. Of course you can't be left on the air without knowing what to think so Red narrates everything Andy did from the beggining to the moment he vanished. It's not a true spoiler to say he escaped because if you pay attention you know it just has to be that way. Those final moments are actually the best, the way Andy organized everything is fabulous, and what Freeman does afterwards is pretty nice to watch. Excellent story, cast and direction by Frank Darabont, heck, even the music theme was good. I wouldn't hesitate to call this film a masterpiece and once you watch it chances are you'll totally agree with me.
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