MICHAEL SCOFIELD (Wentworth Miller) is a desperate man in a desperate situation – his brother, LINCOLN BURROWS (Dominic Purcell), has been convicted of a sensational murder and is on death row in Fox River State Penitentiary. Despite the evidence against Lincoln, Michael is convinced of his innocence. With no other options and the clock ticking toward Lincoln's execution, Michael holds up a bank to get himself incarcerated alongside his brother. Once he's inside, we learn that Michael – a structural engineer with the blueprints for the prison – has hatched an elaborate plan to break Lincoln out and prove that he was framed for the crime.
——Film Review of The Shawshank Redemption
It is a dull and sneaky night. A drunk man sits in a car with a pistol in his hand, frustrated and resentful. Not far away from the car lies a house where his wife and her lover are in their stolen love. In the air resounds an old song which makes the surroundings shrouded in a touch of sadness. And Red’s story begins.
Several days later, the drunk man —Andy Dufresne is sentenced into prison for murdering his wife and her lover. It is said that everyone in Shawshank is an innocent man, though, I don’t know whether Andy is the murderer or not as he even can’t make it clear what he has done that gloomy night. Here is the suspense in the film, too.
Nearly a month later in the jail, Andy begins to talk to others. Maybe he has accepted the sudden twist in his smooth life or he has some good planning about his following life. At least he lives as usual, silent and leisured, though he is trapped by some homesexuals from time to time. In Shawshank, Andy looks a bit incongruous around there. Sometimes, he strolled like a man in the park without a care or a worry in the world, and as if he has worn an invisible coat that would shield him from that place. In addition, things seem better. He get an easier work than laundry for his profound knowledge, which gives him a feeling of going back to previous familiarity. Although it is just for a short while.
As time goes by, Red’s parole is rejected as usual, while Brooks, an old man who keeps his nose clean all the time in the prison is released on parole. After 50-year jail life, he eventually walks out of the heavy gate. However, several-day normal but lonely life outside the prison passed, Brooks used a rope to end his life. At the same time, Andy’s request for funds used in expanding the library and getting some new books is accepted. Among them lies an old microgroove, then Andy plays the record on and share it with all his inmates. Those voice soars higher and father than anybody in a great place dares to dream. It is as if some beautiful birds have flapped into their drab little cage and made those walls dissolve away. Meanwhile, every last man in Shawshank feels free. Almost everybody can see the light of hope from Andy, especially the fish — Tommy , a thief who was sentenced to prison for two years. From him, Andy’s case comes out in the wash. It was a cruel thief who killed Andy’s wife and her lover while Andy has been a scapegoat for more than ten years. Though the truth has been disclosed, Andy’s situation doesn’t become better but even worse because the warden destroyed the chance for him to get out. So to speak, it is the warden’s behavior that directly leads to Andy’s breaking prison. A storm night with thunder and lightning, Andy passes through the dirty and terribly smelled sewer and finally lives a cosy life with his boat by the sea.
Red’s story ends, so as Andy’s redemption.
On the one hand, Andy redeems himself. It costs him years in the jail to reflect his past days which is successful seemingly and finally understand the true essence of life. On the other hand, he redeems the prisoners in Shawshank，and what is more valuable than those records and books is hope. Although you are imprisoned, you can be free as long as there is hope in your heart. As Andy says that hope is a good thing, you need it so you won’t forget that there are places in the world that aren’t made out of stones. There’s something inside that they can’t get to, that they can’t touch. That is yours. So it is that hope is a rather good thing. But for lack of hope, Brooks would have been alive outside the jail.
It’s true that Red says Brooks suicides because he is institutionalized. Institutionalization and humanity, besides the contradiction between freedom and captivity, is another contradiction showed in this film. Brooks should feel free and relaxed after he leaves the cage, but in fact, he is sleepless in the night and feel solitary during the day. He missed life in Shawshank as if he has caught stockholm syndrome defined as a phenomenon in which a hostage begins to identify with the captor and becomes attached to him or her. Those walls are kind of funny like that. First you hate them, then you get used to them. Enough time passed, you depend on them. This is one of the themes conveyed by the film, which is a reflection of the society.
The film was first showed in 20 century, though, yet it still has practical significance in contemporary society. The phenomenon of being institutionalized can be seen in many places. Institutionalization in a schools leads to students’ losing creativity；in an enterprise leads to workers’ lacking enthusiasm; in a nation leads to rigid developments. But from Andy, we can see a feasible way to weaken it— to have a free heart. It reminds me of another role named 1900 in a film called The Legend of 1900. He never steps out of the ship throughout his whole life and piano is his lifelong friend. He plays piano as if he is travelling, and each time he ends up someplace different, in the heart of London; on a train in the middle of the country; on the edge of a giant volcano; in the biggest church in the world. 1900 stays at the ship as if he is imprisoned in a cage seemingly, but compared with those who are occupied with different trifles in land, he is rather free and nothing could stop him from sticking to his own belief. It can be said that his life is a real success. Anxious and stressed, sometimes you struggle to live better as if you are in a prison. What is worse and desperate is that you have to stay there having no way to escape. However, what if you are free mentally, doesn’t it make everything seems to be different and dynamic?
The means of Red’s narrating the story pervades the film with warmth, sentimentality and strength. It makes it more realistic and palpable. When Red and Andy smile at each other at the seaside in the end, the sea breeze whispers around them just like a blessing for their hopeful life in the future. This time I actually understand that word —— Fear can hold you prisoner and hope can set you free. A strong man can save himself and a great man can save another.
Combining the hope of "The Shawshank Redemption," the camaraderie of "The Longest Yard" and the tense procedure and spectacle of "The Great Escape," the series promises to reveal additional pieces of the puzzle each week as Michael carries out his daring plan to mastermind the ultimate prison break – and solve the far-reaching national-scale conspiracy that landed him and his brother there in the first place.
PRISON BREAK is created, written and executive-produced by Paul Scheuring ("A Man Apart"). Brett Ratner directs the pilot episode and serves as executive producer, along with Matt Olmstead, Marty Adelstein, Neal H. Moritz and Dawn Parouse. Michael Watkins is co-executive producer.