The Shawshank Redemption Re-reviewed

One of the best lines ever said in a movie or elsewhere come from the movie “The Shawshank Redemption”. It is an inspiring movie; the pace of the movie belies the climax. 

Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.

Every time I hear word hope, I get reminded of the movie and the line above. Every time I think about it, I get to think about it in a different way, based on the phase of life I am in and the state of mind I am in.

The part that I hadn't noticed so much earlier but that comes to my mind when I got reminded of the movie today was the pace. There was hardly any urgency or many tense moments throughout the movie. It just takes an easy and lazy pace, definitely out of tune with the climax that is awaiting you.

I also thought a little bit about the restlessness that comes with hope. Your restlessness is driven of the fact that you don’t like your current state and you would like to change and you have some hope of changing it. But the fact that there is restlessness is enough to spoil your present and for some folks that is the kind of hope they have, which can make them miserable, like Red said in the movie.

Let me tell you something my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane

The kind of state Andy appears to be in the movie is a sense of acceptance that comes with finality. Some times that fact that you are in a dead end state drives acceptance and you end up compromising with your current situation. That is the sense you get out of most part of the movie as he tries to do things inside the prison as if he is going to be there forever. The acceptance hides behind itself an indomitable spirit and an undying hope that remained alive despite near impossibility of ever being able to get out.

In the end the hope does work out, but the aspect that struck me more this time is the possibility, what if it hadn't. Would that be considered a sad ending? It wouldn't be exemplary ending (and definitely worse for a movie), but then the way things seemed to be going it seemed an acceptable ending for Andy. He was doing things, changing his world in little ways possible for himself. He built a name and reputation for himself, made real friends, real relationships, had leisure, time to indulge in his hobbies (some if not all). A lot of things people in the outside world struggle to keep because of a lifestyle they chose for themselves or decisions they made in life. The point that struck me was, it probably would have been OK for Andy even if he wasn't able to break out. He seemed happy and content with where he was. Even though he was aspiring for more, it wasn't as much from a sense of hating his situation and trying to escape it, it came more out of being OK with the situation but still striving to be at a better place, a content-er place if you will. As he also comments at some point

Get busy living, or get busy dying

A hope that drives madness and spoils your current situation isn't real hope. The best kind is the one where you don’t end up being miserable in your present, yet you look up to something even better.