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Subject: The Shawshank Redemption (spoilers) - am I being obtuse? rss

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Rob
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I recently watched "The Shawshank Redemption" for the first time and was really impressed. It's a beautiful portrait of a man whose quiet dignity and perseverance withstood decades of abuse, and ultimately won his own freedom. However, despite my love of this film, I never saw "redemption." Logically, it can only be referring to the two main characters.

- Andy Dufresne was always innocent of his crime, so did not need redemption. He eventually escapes through patient determination and cleverness.
- Ellis Redding was guilty of his crime, but was only released after 40+ years because of the pity of the parole board, even though he told them numerous times he was reformed and fit for society.

The only character that comes close to being redeemed was Tommy, who was willing to tell the truth about Andy's "crime," and was murdered for it.
So, as Andy would say, am I being obtuse?
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By halfway through the movie, I didn't care if anyone had been redeemed.
It was just a damned fine piece of moviemaking and an excellent story.
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Billy McBoatface
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Maybe his life was redeemed? One definition of "redemption" is achieving salvation, but another is to regain something through work. Andy regained his life through hard work.

Admittedly a lot of his life was gone by then but hey, better late than never, right?
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Huzonfirst
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I assume it's "redemption" in the more general sense, of a wrong being righted and a man unjustly imprisoned gaining his freedom. Besides, it's just a classy sounding title!
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Mark Finch
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Possibly this alternate meaning is the relevant one:

re·demp·tion
"the action of regaining or gaining possession of something in exchange for payment, or clearing a debt."

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Matthew M
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Andy shares with Red that he feels he did have a part to play in his wife's death - he may not have pulled the trigger, but by not being a better husband he feels he contributed to pushing her into her lover's arms.

For Red, one could argue that he needs to be rescued from his institutionalized belief that hope is dangerous.
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maf man
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I think there are plenty of right ways to interpret this and some are said above. I think it holds multiple meanings quite well.

redemption of andy:
1- being saved/released from prison for his crime. he was innocent of the crime which leads to him breaking out to be saved from it. Poetic balance or switch.
2- he life was not all that good to start with so through the trials he went through he ended with a good life
3- things were taken from him so he took back

redemption of shawshank:
The prison itself was redeemed from corruption (this is the main one I think of)


btw I was surprised how much I liked this movie
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Rob
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mafman6 wrote:
redemption of shawshank:
The prison itself was redeemed from corruption (this is the main one I think of)

You may have nailed it there; I never considered the prison itself, but it was a much more humane place by the end, largely though Andy's efforts.
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maf man
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Sinister Dexter wrote:
mafman6 wrote:
redemption of shawshank:
The prison itself was redeemed from corruption (this is the main one I think of)

You may have nailed it there; I never considered the prison itself, but it was a much more humane place by the end, largely though Andy's efforts.

plus (I'f I remember right) karma evens out for everyone in the end so shawshank (as a community on a individual level) gets redeemed
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The full title of the novella is Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption: Hope Springs Eternal. It is written from Red's perspective. I really like the idea that the redemption is of the prison itself, but it seems easier to argue that Red is the one redeemed. Especially given the character-arc of Brooks.
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Tom Patterson
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Thumbed it because you were classy enough to post spoiler warnings on a twenty-one year old movie.
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SJ S
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Octavian wrote:
For Red, one could argue that he needs to be rescued from his institutionalized belief that hope is dangerous.
this. this is the answer.

Andy was innocent - he didn't need redeeming. and if you read the short story, you know that it was about Red, not Andy. Andy PROVIDES the redemption. here's now:

after Brooks dies, Morgan Freeman's character (Red) says that hope is dangerous and not worth having.
Red wrote:
Let me tell you something my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.

after finally being granted parole, Red finds he is facing the same struggles Brooks faced when he was paroled. then Red finds Andy's note. Andy predicted this very thing, that Red would be struggling - trying to find his hope. Andy writes encouragingly to Red:
Andy wrote:
Remember, Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies. I will be hoping that this letter finds you, and finds you well. Your friend. Andy.

and finally we hear Red narrate in the final scenes:
Red wrote:
I find I'm so excited that I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it's the excitement only a free man can feel. A free man at a start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope.

he learns to hope again. this is the redemption.
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Pieter
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The Shawshank Redemption is a pretty good movie marred by an enormous flaw, that leads to the consequence of the title being meaningless.

The flaw is that the movie would be so much more meaningful if the Robbins character was actually guilty instead of innocent. I mean, even if he was guilty, I'd say that there is no way in which he "deserved" the treatment that he got. The statement "you should treat even criminals as human beings" makes much more sense if it is made about someone who is actually a criminal. With Andy being innocent, the statement becomes "you should treat innocent people as human beings."

The movie makes the same mistake as many of the old westerns which let a mob try to lynch an innocent person trying to make the statement "lynching is bad", but making it come out as "lynching is okay unless the victim is innocent."

And Andy being guilty makes the title sensible too. I never read the book, and it is possible that the movie changed this aspect of Andy. But considering that this is Stephen King -- probably not.
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SJ S
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just one more thing about this... the title of the short story is:
Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption with the subtitle Hope Springs Eternal.

the whole book is about HOPE.

Andy never EVER lost hope. despite being raped and all the other terrible things that happened to him, he never lost hope. Red says this about Andy in the book:
Red wrote:
All I know for sure is that Andy Dufresne wasn't much like me or anyone else I ever knew since I came inside. He brought in five hundred dollars jammed up his back porch, but somehow that graymeat son a bitch managed to bring in something else as well. A sense of his own worth, maybe, or a feeling that he would be the winner in the end...

the book ends like this:
I Hope Andy is down there.
I Hope I can make it across the border.
I Hope to see my friend and shake his hand.
I Hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams.
I Hope.

the very last sentence of the book tells you everything you need to know. Red hopes.

to my thinking, this is where the movie should have ended, and not with Red and Andy reuniting on the beach. it doesn't matter if Andy and Red find each other, because Red has discovered hope and that is the whole point of the book. it's right there in the subtitle and in the last sentence. this is what Stephen King, who wrote this, means. King is a great storyteller, but subtle he is not.

ps in the book Red is a white man, but i can't help but seeing him as Morgan Freeman who really embodied Red.

ok that is all. i will quit jabbering about this now

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David Bush
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Larry Levy wrote:
I assume it's "redemption" in the more general sense, of a wrong being righted and a man unjustly imprisoned gaining his freedom. Besides, it's just a classy sounding title!
Yes, much better than The Shawshank Vindication. It's nice to have an erudite discussion, but such reasoning usually bears little correlation to how a movie title is actually decided.
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It's good to see people that still like this wonderful movie. It's become fashionable lately to slate The Shawshank Redemption, which is just pathetic. One of my brother's friends posted his hate of the movie recently, which was hilarious given that he was the reason me and my brother had seen it in our younger days after his absolute love of it.
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Julius Waller
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Funny reading this, I always took the word redemption in the financial sense of redeeming the money that was laundered.
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Gary H
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DavidSL wrote:
It's good to see people that still like this wonderful movie. It's become fashionable lately to slate The Shawshank Redemption, which is just pathetic. One of my brother's friends posted his hate of the movie recently, which was hilarious given that he was the reason me and my brother had seen it in our younger days after his absolute love of it.

This is one of those movies, for me, I can catch at anytime during the movie and watch it the rest of the way through.

Thinking about this and after reading this thread. I might have need to watch it again (for the umteenth time).

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Mindy Kyrkos
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bop517 wrote:
This is one of those movies, for me, I can catch at anytime during the movie and watch it the rest of the way through.
This.

I saw a comedian once do a bit talking about how when a movie comes on TV on a channel that has commercials and even though you have it on tape/DVD, you watch the commercial version anyway. Then he said, "I call this 'The Shawshank Effect.'"

I once caught the very beginning of it on TV, and my husband and I decided to actually get the DVD out and watch it. When it was over, he went to bed, and I was flipping through the channels a little later that night and it was on one of those loops where they were playing it over and over. So of course, I watched it again. With commercials.
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Robert Wesley
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Re: The Shawshank Redemption (spoilers) - am I being Bobtuse?
What about 'Bobtuse'? "hidden cameras E-V-E-R-Y-W-H-E-R-E-!..." STOP! stay..in..control.. first your 'ceiling cat' is "UP" as that 'gazed unfazed' DOWN
and then? "whirling dervishes" descend requesting $3.50 or around that amount whilst shouts of "GIVE ME A DOLLAR!" garner a 'holla' of A-L-L y`alls...
Quote:
CUT TO OUTSIDE EXTERIOR WHERE AN "OZ" DEPICTION WERE BEHELD
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David
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Flyboy Connor wrote:
The Shawshank Redemption is a pretty good movie marred by an enormous flaw, that leads to the consequence of the title being meaningless.

The flaw is that the movie would be so much more meaningful if the Robbins character was actually guilty instead of innocent. I mean, even if he was guilty, I'd say that there is no way in which he "deserved" the treatment that he got. The statement "you should treat even criminals as human beings" makes much more sense if it is made about someone who is actually a criminal. With Andy being innocent, the statement becomes "you should treat innocent people as human beings."

The movie makes the same mistake as many of the old westerns which let a mob try to lynch an innocent person trying to make the statement "lynching is bad", but making it come out as "lynching is okay unless the victim is innocent."

And Andy being guilty makes the title sensible too. I never read the book, and it is possible that the movie changed this aspect of Andy. But considering that this is Stephen King -- probably not.
I wouldn't go as far as to call it an enormous flaw. I understand what you mean. That even criminals should be treated as humans. And maybe that message would be more meaningful if Andy had been guilty.

But I think the movie is great the way it is. Because you do have that message. You do have guilty being mistreated. The guy who cries the first night, the Elvis guy who tried to help Andy get free.

Andy being innocent IMO does does serve a purpose.
* It demonstrates just how far removed from humanity the warden is when we see what he's willing to do to Andy even though he KNOW he's innocent.
* And there's that great scene where Andy retells the inside joke of them all being innocent to a new arrival. Andy understood and accepted that there is no difference between him and Red. Having done a crime or not no longer matters and it's now only about how you treat each other. He never holds his innocence above the others.
* I'm not longer sure if the story is meant to be clear on his innocence from the start or if the revelation by Tommy is supposed to be a twist. But even if it isn't I feel opting for Andy to be clearly innocent is an acceptable decision.

Maybe him clinging to hope would have been more powerful if he had been guilty but it would have required to show him working through that guilt. It was the easier solution for building someone to root for.

And yeah. It's one of the few movies I can watch any day.
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Rob
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Sad update:

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The cool thing for me is, my local movie theater is showing it this Sunday(the 24th of July) for FREE! Some church is paying for it. They did 4 movies this month. Draft Day, Unstoppable, Groundhogs Day and of course Shawshank Redemption.

Also: it's Red's redemption. He's the main person of the story. IMO
 
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Sinister Dexter wrote:
I recently watched "The Shawshank Redemption" for the first time

Have you seen "the Green Mile"? . An even better film IMHO
 
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Rob
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biffta wrote:
Sinister Dexter wrote:
I recently watched "The Shawshank Redemption" for the first time

Have you seen "the Green Mile"? . An even better film IMHO

I have not; I'll need to catch that sometime.
 
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