ROAD TO REDEMPTION
5 GREAT FILMS ABOUT REDEMPTION
PUBLISHED 16 JAN 2016
MILLION DOLLAR BABY
Clint Eastwood / 2004
“No matter where he is, I thought you should know what kind of man your father really was".
While much of Clint Eastwood’s work is about redemption, MILLION DOLLAR BABY is the film where it stands out the most. The film follows Maggie (Hilary Swank) an up-and-coming boxer. However the real story is about her trainer Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood) who tries to forgive himself for past actions involving his daughter. His relationship with Maggie is his source of redemption but when Maggie is paralysed after a boxing match she begs him to help euthanise her. Frankie then has to choose between redemption and the girl he has grown to love. The film shows that redemption can come at a price and hard decisions have to be made.
Steven Spielberg / 1992
“It's Hebrew, it's from the Talmud. It says, 'Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire.'”
Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson) was indifferent to the events going on in mid-war Germany as long as he was able to profit from it. However, after taking on a Jewish workforce and building a relationship with his Jewish accountant Itzhak Stern (Ben Kingsley), Schindler is shown the good he is doing and how he can further this by making his now infamous list. He slowly begins to care for others and finds himself involved in the workers’ lives. SCHINDLER’S LIST is based on a true story and shows how someone can make a difference by changing for the better.
Darren Aronofsky / 2008
“You're my little girl. And now, I'm an old broken-down piece of meat... and I'm alone. And I deserve to be all alone. I just don't want you to hate me.”
Randy the Ram (Mickey Rourke) is an ageing wrestler and when he has a near-death experience he tries to get out of the wrestling game and get his life back together. It is arguably one of the most tragic stories on this list and every time Randy fails it is hard not to feel his pain. He tries to reconnect with his daughter but he soon reverts back to his old ways and this causes her to push him further away. Redemption cannot always be achieved and THE WRESTLER shows that perfectly.
Danny Boyle / 2015
“I don't want people to dislike me. I'm indifferent to whether they dislike me.”
Unlike most of the protagonists on this list, Steve Jobs (Michael Fassbender) does not seek redemption and does not truly accept it when he receives it. The film focuses on Jobs’ life in which we see his difficult relationships and how he tries to fix them. Sorkin’s script plays up Jobs’ arrogance as this is what causes his disapproval, as the narrative progresses we see him coming to terms with this. He is difficult to sympathise with, but Jobs’ moments of change and humanity allow the audience a way in.
THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION
Frank Darabont / 1994
“Yeah. The funny thing is, on the outside, I was an honest man, straight as an arrow. I had to come to prison to be a crook.”
As this list is on redemption in films it would be a crime to ignore THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION. When Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) is sentenced to life imprisonment for a crime he did not commit, he finds himself at Shawshank. Unlike the other inmates, Andy will not accept his fate and his strong sense of hope keeps him going and inspires those around him. He brings in the optimism they all need to survive, most notably motivating Red (Morgan Freeman) - “the only guilty man in Shawshank” - to realise that there can be more to life than prison and that hope can give him all he needs to live.