It is a strange comment to make about a film set inside a prison, but "The Shawshank Redemption" creates a warm hold on our feelings because it makes us a member of a family. Many movies offer us vicarious experiences and quick, superficial emotions. "Shawshank" slows down and looks. It uses the narrator's calm, observant voice to include us in the story of men who have formed a community behind bars. It is deeper than most films; about continuity in a lifetime, based on friendship and hope.
Interesting that although the hero of the film is the convicted former banker Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), the action is never seen from his point of view. The film's opening scene shows him being given two life sentences for the murder of his wife and her lover, and then we move, permanently, to a point of view representing the prison population and particularly the lifer Ellis "Red" Redding (Morgan Freeman). It is his voice remembering the first time he saw Andy ("looked like a stiff breeze would blow him over"), and predicting, wrongly, that he wouldn't make it in prison.
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