On a nar­ra­tive lev­el The Shaw­shank Redemp­tion is a movie about the pow­er of hope in the face of extra­or­di­nary hard­ship. But under­pin­ning Andy Dufresne’s sto­ry we also find a blis­ter­ing cri­tique of the prison sys­tem and crim­i­nal jus­tice pol­i­cy in the Unit­ed States.