Real Fans Must Not Miss The Shawshank Redemption
The Shawshank Redemption is globally recognized as one of “the best films in the history”. It faces the fragility of human nature, and shows the tenacity of life and the power of hope. Its appearance and predictable popularity at the 21st Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF) show that the vitality of outstanding film works will be continued and renewed as time goes by.
Audiences in different cultures and regions have different tastes in films. On any film ranking list of any region or country can we see a film with a very high probability. It is The Shawshank Redemption.
It is the number 1 film both on IMDB TOP 250 and Douban Movie TOP 250. Since its debut in 1994, except for the unexpected defeat at Academy Award, The Shawshank Redemption is rated as one of the top 10 winners of films. What exactly makes it win so wide popularity?
The Shawshank Redemption was born in 1994 which was a creation peak in the world film history with many great films. There are too many classic films released in the year: Hollywood films Forrest Gump, Pulp Fiction, The Lion King, and Leon: The Professional, European films Red, Before the Rain and Burnt by the Sun, and Chinese films Eat Drink Man Woman, A Chinese Odyssey and In the Heat of the Sun.
In such fierce competition, The Shawshank Redemption received 10 nominations for the next year’s 67th Academy Award including Best Picture and Best Actor. However, Oscar’s judges voted Forrest Gump, which perfectly interpreted the so-called “American dream” during the 1990s economic boom. This made many fans feel sorry for “Shawshank” and sighed why the two great films were released in the same year.
However, Oscar, who has its own position and starting point, cannot represent the full artistic value of a film. Both the two successful films convey positive energy to audiences. The kind-hearted “Forrest Gump” tells people to strive for self-improvement and pursue dreams bravely. While “Shawshank” faces the most vulnerable part of human nature and shows the world the power of hope.
Just entering Shawshank prison, Andy, the main character, has a very difficult time. He is wrongfully convicted of murdering his wife and her lover, and sentenced to life. More terrible than the cold cell, the police baton, and the maltreatment of perverted prisoners is the desperation about life imprisonment.
Andy, unwilling to give up in adversity, suffers a lot in prison until the warden and the prison guards discover Andy’s extraordinary ability in financial management as a big banker. They begin using Andy to help them avoid tax. The warden uses Andy to handle financial matters and launder money for himself.
With their shelter, Andy lives much better in prison. He seizes every opportunity to enjoy moments of freedom, inviting inmates to drink beer, requesting funds to set up a library for Shawshank, helping young inmate Tommy pass his exam, and even playing an excerpt of The Marriage of Figaro over the public address system for all inmates – the price is two weeks of solitary confinement. But Andy does not regret it. He says it was the most comfortable two weeks for him because he was accompanied by Mozart.
Accidentally, Tommy learned the truth about Andy’s murder of his wife. In order to keep the cash cow, the warden kills Tommy and sends Andy back to the darkness confinement cell again.
“Some birds aren’t meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright.” Andy is the bird with bright feathers. Led by hopes, he climbs through the tunnel dug for 20 years and 500 yards of sewage pipe full of excrement and gains freedom.
After escaping from the prison, Andy, under the alias which was used to launder money for the warden, withdraws the laundered money of the warden and mails the evidence of the corruption and murders at Shawshank to the media. The desperate warden commits suicide with a gun, and Andy, who is redeemed, flies away.
Besides Andy, the film also depicts Andy’s two inmates, Red and elderly Brooks. Red is a smart man and does well in Shawshank. He tells Andy, “In Shawshank, hope is a dangerous thing.”
Red spends 40 years in Shawshank. He complies with the rules of survival here to live today. The same is true of Brooks, who was jailed at a young age. He spends most of his time in Shawshank and becomes a white-haired old man. When he is free and leaves prison, he is completely lost - cars speeding in the streets and televisions in the shop windows seem like another world. He cannot find his own value, and he is alone and helpless, scratching a living by working as a cashier in a supermarket. His body is free, but his soul is in Shawshank forever. In the end, he commits suicide by hanging himself.
Red should have shared the fate of Brooks, but Andy saves him. After getting out of prison, Red follows Andy’s clues and finds the box buried by Andy under a big oak tree. This is the hope left by Andy for this old friend - holding this hope, they are finally reunited on a sunny beach in Mexico.
This may be the reason why the film was named “The Shawshank Redemption” instead of “Andy’s Redemption”. The part of jail breaking described in the film is rather restrained. In contrast, we see more about how Andy triumphs over adversity in prison and influence the people around him with his faith. Beer, library, tutoring, and music ... his existence makes this place has the color that life should have, and finally complete the “The Shawshank Redemption”.
At the upcoming 21st Shanghai International Film Festival, audiences will be able to see this film The Shawshank Redemption on the big screen in Shanghai. Please seize this opportunity to appreciate closely “the best film in the history” and feel the power of hope, which would give you inspiration for life.