The movie The Shawshank Redemption, written and directed by Frank Darabont and based on a novel by Stephen King, displays excitement and suspense. Mercifully free of cheap horror and overwrought dialogue, this 1994 release celebrates the resilience of the human spirit. The movie opens in 1947 as Andy Dufrense, a prominent New England banker, stands trial for murdering his wife and her lover. Although Andy insists his innocence, the jury finds him guilty. As Andy struggles with his new lifestyles, he becomes friends with another inmate named "Red". The partnership between Andy and "Red" supports the crucial way the story unfolds. Three reasons to recognize The Shawshank Redemption as an extraordinary film include the strength of its performers, partnership between the characters, and the fight against despair.
One quality that makes The Shawshank Redemption an outstanding movie involves the fight against despair. Where lesser men may crumble in a position like Andy, Andy displays a man with hidden reserves. Throughout the movie Andy represents a man with high qualities and hope. He gradually gains personal satisfaction by sharing hope with other inmates. Although it takes Andy six years of writing letters to the government, they finally give him financial aid to rebuild the prison library. The library allows Andy to relate and reach out to the other inmates. The sense of obtaining an education influences the other prisoners to fight their despair. As Andy and "Red" become friends, they depend on their friendship to maintain hope. According to Rita Kempley, "It is hope that allows the self-proclaimed innocent man to survive what may or may not be an unjust imprisonment. And hope is his gift to his friend "Red", who no longer even tries to impress the parole board at his hearings" (28). The story shows the subterranean progress of how two men serving life sentences in prison become friends and find a way to fight off despair.