THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION (1994)
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Genres
DUDEFEST RATING
9.50
Dudes
Tim Robbins
Morgan Freeman
By Pockets
June 01, 2014

If you've never seen THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION the first thing you should know is that it's unlike any bromance you have ever seen. We're not talking about some Paul-Rudd-befriends-a-stoner, feel-good Judd Apatow piece of crap, we're talking about your Dad's bromance. Hell, maybe even your grandfather's.

 

First thing that goes on in this movie is the introduction of Andy Dufresne, played by the guy from MYSTIC RIVER (no not Sean Penn, the dumb-looking one). Dufresne is on trial for a double murder, that of his wife and her lover, a pro golfer. We assume this makes him edgy and cool, but he's an investment banker so instead he's a wuss about it. So this big pussy gets two life sentences back to back, and proceeds to shut up for a good half hour on-screen. Thank the good lord he does, because this is where Morgan Freeman takes over narrating. And boy does he get eloquent. He plays Red, a man who's spent many years behind bars, so much so that he controls all the illegal trade coming in, and even some of the inner workings of the prison. Like Henry Hill from GOODFELLAS, but you don't wish he wasn't Ray Liotta.

 

Not too long after he arrives, Andy seeks Red out in order to get his hands on a rock hammer. This is where the bromance begins. After a while, and the occasional rape, things start turning around for Dufresne. It all starts when him and his bros are just chilling, as bros often do, tarring a roof. If you keep an eye out, you can actually see the moment he grows a pair. How? He asks a guard if he trusts his own wife, then when the same guard holds him over the edge of the roof, he negotiates his way out by offering the guard financial advice, securing some beers for his bros in the process. A true dude metamorphosis.

 

After this, Andy begins "running shit" as I'm told they say on the streets. He starts doing taxes for all the guards, and just starts living lavish. He's got himself a Rita Hayworth poster, which was basically the equivalent of at least 3 porn sites back in the day. And the membership ones, none of that amateur stuff. He's also got a totally boss collection of rocks that he's carved all crazy, courtesy of the rock hammer. Suddenly the warden shows up in his cell for a random check. He finds the poster pretty quickly, but doesn't punish Dufresne, citing that "exceptions can be made." A very bro move by the warden. He picks up Andy's bible, where he hides his rock hammer, and comes insanely close to discovering it, leading to a classic Tim Robbins sweaty face. Logically, he then hires Andy as his personal money-launderer.

 

The warden starts hiring out inmates to local businesses, and the bribes start stacking up like matzoh before Passover. And there sits Dufresne, cooking books like Emeril. He's teaching inmates in his spare time, as well as expanding the library. A true linchpin of the community.

 

Enter Tommy. Tommy is a young thief transferred into Shawshank, who Andy convinces to give up crime in favor of education. So Tommy tries for his GED. He takes the test and crumples it, but Andy sends it in anyway, in a moment of dad-like faith. One day Red tells Tommy about Andy's case, and something clicks. Turns out Tommy had a cellmate who had bragged about killing a golf pro and his girl when he was in another prison. So Andy hears about this, and really fucks up. He goes straight to the warden with the news, and even though he agrees to never say anything about the massive internal federal crimes, the warden is pissssssed. He sends Andy to solitary for a month, and sets up a meeting with Tommy. When he asks Tommy if he'd testify on Andy's behalf, he agrees with enthusiasm.

 

Now, you might cry here. I'm not saying FIELD OF DREAMS type tears but if you get misty-eyed, don't say we didn't warn you. Blame allergies. Why would I cry, you ask? Simple. Tommy, young and stupid, is put to death by the warden. Shot by a guard in the back of the head. So tragically dudefest. Andy seems like a broken man after this, and Red worries about him. On top of this, he's still forced into laundering money, despite threatening to blow the lid off the scandal and royally pissing off the warden. When Andy asks for a piece of rope, Red becomes suspicious that Andy might be trying to go beyond the golden hour. They have a talk, and Andy tells Red his real story, how he drove his wife away because of his personality (let's remember he was an investment banker). He also tells Red where they fucked, which makes more sense later when Andy tells Red that, should he ever get paroled, he should find the tree they banged near, and there'd be something there for him. Not that he needed a reason to tell Red where he did his wife, they're bros.

 

In any case, Andy is not in his cell the next morning. The warden, who had seen Andy the night before, saying goodnight by telling him to shine his shoes, is freakin' out. His shoes aren't in his office, Andy's are. When he gets to his cell he starts whipping Andy's rock sculptures around in fury, eventually hitting a poster of Raquel Welch (Andy had upgraded). When he hits the poster, the rock goes straight through. There is a moment where you can see the warden shit himself, if you look closely enough. So where was Andy?

 

Andy Dufresne had spent all his time at Shawshank tunneling through his cell wall. Then, in the night, as a thunderstorm raged, he put a bunch of shit in a plastic bag, smashed through a sewer pipe, and crawled through a half-mile of pipeline to emerge a shit-covered free man. That's right, the man crawled through hundreds of other dudes' poop just to get out of jail. And it doesn't end there either. Andy then visits every bank he's been putting the warden's money in, and withdraws it all. Rolling in the Benjamins, Andy proceeds to send the warden's books to a newspaper. The warden, at this time, opens up the safe to find a bible he had given Andy, with the shape of a rock hammer carved away in it. Then he shoots himself in the head. That's right, Andy Dufresne is such an ice-cold motherfucker he made a guy kill himself.

 

Red receives a blank postcard from Texas, a sign that Andy was alright. Naturally, he longs for freedom even more, so they can hang out again. Red goes up for parole, to the same board that had already denied him tons of times. And what does he do? In a very Morgan Freeman way, he tells them to politely go fuck themselves. He calls rehabilitated a "bullshit word" and ends his speech with one of the greatest lines to grace his lips, "You go on and stamp your form, sonny, and stop wasting my time. Because I'll tell you the truth, I don't give a shit." Naturally he's approved, and gets sent to a halfway home to get back into society. Eventually, he finds the tree the Dufresnes got down and dirty under, and finds what Andy left him. With the money in the box and some instructions, Red skips parole all the way down to Mexico, where he and Andy are reunited, presumably to go fishing, drink beer, barbecue, and just engage in bro activities until they die. Truly bromantic.

You can find more of Pockets's dangerously misinformed decisions by following him on twitter @tharealpockets.

R A T I N G S
9
A true testament to dudes being bros everywhere. And Morgan Freeman.
9.5
One of the only mainstream films with no romantic subplot (because those fascists don't count bromance, and Andy's relationship with The Sisters isn't exactly "romantic"). If you add up all the screen time for all women in the movie, even if you count the Rita Hayworth stuff they took from GILDA, it would be shorter than the average TV commercial. I don't think movies get much more dudefest than this, even with its noticeable lack of explosions. Plus, it's my second favorite movie of all time.
9.5
Bromance to the max. The only chick in the movie is murdered. The lack of explosions and minimal violence prevent me from giving it a ten.
10
This was actually a Stephen King short story. Fun fact: the real "Red" is a white Irishman with red hair, hence the name Red. Dufresne asks why his name is Red and Morgan Freeman takes it in stride by saying, "I guess it's because I'm Irish".
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