The Shawshank Redemption

Just a heads-up there will be spoilers in this post. If you haven’t watched the movie and is still going to read on thinking that you will never watch it anyway, please don’t deny yourself of this experience, it IS worth the time. Wouldn’t be so emotionally hyped to type this thousand word review on mobile if it wasn’t.

Dedicating a post for the movie Shawshank Redemption which I have just finished watching. Rarely have I watched any film in 2 hours that feels so complete, and this is the perfect word to describe the film. Unlike movies I have watched this year like Logan, which made me question where had the time gone while the credits were playing, time flew during Shawshank Redemption. Logan was by no means terrible but if Logan was an Olympic-sized swimming pool then Shawshank was the Pacific Ocean. Depth. Shawshank Redemption offers tremendous depth.

Not really going to go through the main storyline, but am just going to discuss the events that stood out to me and express my thoughts on some of the characters.

The first major scene that struck me was Brook committing suicide. There has been a similar real-life situation having millions of views on Youtube where an inmate was released from jail for 60 over years had the opportunity to see the world again. It was starkly different, the technology, the way people dressed. However the 2 main things that I thought about was the lonliness and the lack of purpose. You have just been released after half a century being locked up into a new world where you have no contacts and no idea what to do. Worse is that youth is no longer an asset you can invest with. To put it simply you have no potential, you just float, coast along knowing that’s it, that’s how your life will play out day after day. I might do exactly what Brooks did too. Still remembered how a friend asked me during the 24km route march if you had a choice to open a book that tells you exactly how your life plays out, will you do it? My answer was flat out no, and that if I knew my own future then I would just kill myself since there was no more point in living. In my experience the best was to quit a video game was simply to apply cheatcodes to unlock everything there is to the game. Then you are done. Finished. The purpose to playing and grinding is gone. That is the same thing with Brooks, and Shawshank Redemption captures this idea perfectly.

Another idea was that of being “institutionalised”. From hating being behind the tall solid walls to seeing that as a safe haven. Isn’t this just Stockholm Syndrome, but cast in a different light? Being in army now myself, this hits home. From hating the army life to kind of being used to it. I am thankful that I have the passion to be better at guitar, else when I book out, what was I going to do? I would be longing for the next book in, longing to lose my freedom, to go back to the same place that I had once hated in the beginning.

That is why we need a purpose in life. Because if army life or prison life can make us institutionalised, why can’t our jobs do that to us too? 8-5 in an office may be something we hate, but eventually it might become something we depend on not just to put food on the table, to give us our sanity. And this scares me.

A third theme brought up is time. Where have the years gone? In Shawshank, there was never an emphasis placed on time, because it never mattered. So many times you see Andy Dufresne or other prisoners casually remark how long they have served, and you go woah, was it that long? Yes, time means nothing in a life sentence. Time has no meaning when you do not have a future. When you just want it to end so you can move on. In army now time means nothing. I am serving two yes. I see some purpose in it, definitely. But there is no future in it for me. I am not sigining on, not becoming a regular. So after this 2 years I will be off, and it doesn’t matter what I do here, time just has to pass. Lots to digest, but it helps if you have some personal experience.

It also struck me when Red was explaining to the rehabilitation panel that he had regrets. Because he wanted to go back in time to set his younger self straight, to get him to do the right thing and not waste his youth away. My sentiments exactly. This is what this blog was about and why it began. I felt like I was just drifting in life going nowhere with no talents. This blog is created so I could log what I have done. To answer my own question when I inevitably ask at the end of this road called life, where have the times gone?

Next is corruption, where Warden Norton killed Tommy to destroy evidence, to make sure Dufresne had to chance in court. That actually made me angry, because I have kind of hoped he would want to give Dufresne a chance. It wouldn’t be too troublesome for him, and Dufresne had truly helped him a lot, so I felt really betrayed by the Warden. Not really able to put a theme into this. Maybe it’s to show that the world is cold?

Another theme is Hope. It rings throughout the movie. It is the driving force of life, the one trait that keeps everything going, against every suffering in this world, against every evil that came out of Pandora’s box. We would get nowhere without hope. I loved Shawshank Redemption because it sums up so many things about life. Life can be exciting because of hope, the sense of purpose and knowing that the future bears something for us. Life plays like a movie, and despite all its challenges, it’s hope and faith in the future that gives us the power to carry on, while the sense of purpose acts as the spices that makes our tastebuds tingle.

Honestly there are so many things I want to say but just don’t know where to fit it in. Maybe that’s why I’m typing this on my phone immediately after watching the movie without waiting to get to my laptop. Shawshank Redemption really makes you reflect hard on life. To those who ignored the warning and read on without watching the movie, you are lucky, because in the end there weren’t too many spoilers. Go and watch it, this is a must watch.


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