Friday, March 20, 2009

Hope is a Good Thing

The Shawshank Redemption, the 1994 movie based on Stephen King's novella, never gets old. Despite its length (it's about two and a half hours long), the calm and steady narration, and the lack of graphic action, the movie holds me still in anticipation of what I already know and expect...each and every time.

I can watch it again and again and still share that feeling of relief, freedom and victory with the main character, Andy, when he crawls his way out of prison through 500 yards of sewage, thanks to a small rock hammer and a Rita Hayworth poster. And the feeling of desperate loneliness with Red, his best friend and fellow lifer, who is released from the prison after forty years, only to discover that freedom is no longer familiar or useful to him. But then, when Red decides to take a chance and follow his friend to the border, I share his excitement, and his feeling of redemption that has been so long in coming.

In perhaps the best, and most apt ending to a tale that spans over twenty years of corruption, injustice and a painfully patient quest for spiritual redemption, Red reads out from Andy's letter that's been hidden for him underneath a rare rock in Texas:

"And remember, Red, hope is a good thing. Maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies."