Andy Dufresne, played by Tim Robbins is wrongly convicted and sentenced to two life sentences for the murder of his wife and her lover. Following his sentence he is sent down to Shawshank prison. After a couple of months of being sent down he forms a friendship with Red, which is integral to the rest of movie.
During the first few years of his imprisonment, Dufresne works in the prison laundry service, and is forced to endure particularly harsh beatings and even rape, this being caused by a group known as the "Sisters".
The story moves on as he catches the attention of Hadley (one of the prison guards) during a scene in which the prisoners are working outdoors; he makes him aware of how useful his knowledge of accounting can be after he advised him what to do with his inheritance sum in order to avoid tax payment.
After assisting Hadley, Andy is moved to work with Brooks Hatlen the Shawshank prison warden in the library, during this time he takes control of all the guards financial enquires, he becomes so popular for doing this that guards from other prisons bring work for him.
While working within the library, Dufresne begins writing letters to canvas support asking to increase the funding of the library, he succeeds in doing this and dramatically improves the overall quality of it. From seeing the work of Dufresne the Warden takes advantage of his ability to create a fraudulent identity to embezzle funds.
Concurrently Dufresne begins educating inmates to pass high school diplomas. Amongst these is a young prisoner named Tommy' who we and Andy are made aware, knows the person who committed the crime in which Dufresne was wrongly convicted for. Resulting from this, the warden has Tommy killed as he can't afford Dufresne to be freed from Shawshank prison knowing what he knows about his corrupt financial dealings.
Following two months in solitary confinement shortly after Tommy's death, Andy returns with his hope seemingly broken. During the following scene, his friends are concerned that he may commit suicide. The following morning, he is found missing from his cell.
Firstly, I have heard a great deal about this film and from looking on the movie database it is ranked the 3rd best film of all time. I decided to just buy the film and see if it was really that good. There are so many great films about this movie; to put it quite simply, it's a masterpiece.
The plot, the screenplay, the character development and timing are all perfect in this film. The amount of time the film covers is incredible, over 40 years. The film deliberately reveals the story slowly giving great attention to detail and this is probably one the best things about this film, it gives an accurate insight into prison life; this also makes the ending of the film so special and unique.
Moving on to the performances; Robbins' portrayal of Andy Dufresne provokes a lot of thought; he builds the character up slowly throughout the film. The character itself develops, and seemingly accepts his new life but shows great determination and above all else; hope. Morgan Freeman delivers probably one of his best performances in this film; maybe even his best. The rest of the cast are all unique and have a great deal to offer in this film. If you haven't seen this film, it's a film you have to say.