But Andy endures and perseveres because he knows who he is and the movie has the uncanny quality to rescue hope from the deepest bowels of despair. Any plot description would make the film sound like a depressing experience but the story is all the more uplifting because of the spectrum through which optimism is brought into the limelight. And as Red observes and slowly comes to understand the values Andy says and then acts on, his own soul finds the freedom to seek hope from within.
Because this story is so flawlessly told like an unhurried, engrossing novel, it is easy to ignore the impressive artistic quality behind and that is one measure of a true masterpiece. All of the incredible performances by Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman, the masterful writing and direction by Frank Darabont and the eye-popping cinematography by Roger Deakins combine to create a vision that creates such a satisfying whole that it is hard to distinguish among the technical credits of excellence. All of this builds to arguably the most uplifting ending in cinematic history, which I won’t reveal for those who have still yet to discover the film.
There have been many uplifting, inspirational films in recent years but The Shawshank Redemption speaks volumes more than any of them. That’s because it touches on our need to not just believe that hope survives but that there is someone who is a living example of it. Andy knows that, Red eventually sees it and The Shawshank Redemption is a searing portrait of that unspoken need.