- Stephen King thought The Shawshank Redemption's hole in the prison wall was too cartoonish, stretching the suspension of disbelief.
- However, the cartoonish hole serves a purpose in the movie's narrative, drawing attention to Andy's escape and conveying the impact of the twist.
- The round shape of the hole reflects Andy's personality and serves as a final gateway in his undying quest for freedom.
While many viewers and critics could not help but admire The Shawshank Redemption and its big twist, Stephen King had the weirdest complaint about it. Starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman, The Shawshank Redemption unfolds as a rite of passage for a man who gets falsely convicted of murdering his wife. Based on Stephen King's 1982 novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, the movie's timeless take on themes of hope and redemption was heavily lauded by critics and audiences following its release.
While The Shawshank Redemption's initial box office was disappointing because of competition from other popular movies like Pulp Fiction and Forrest Gump, it garnered a cult after it got seven Academy Award nominations. Over the years, The Shawshank Redemption's popularity has only grown from strength to strength. Stephen King, too, has often been vocal about how much he admires Frank Darabont's adaptation of his novella. However, despite being content with The Shawshank Redemption's take on his book, the "King of Horror" seems to have one gripe about the movie's big twist.
Stephen King Thought The Shawshank Redemption's Hole Was Too Cartoonish
Stephen King once recalled (via Oscars.org) that when he first saw The Shawshank Redemption, he realized that Frank Darabont had "made not just one of the best movies ever done from my work, but a potential movie classic." However, as Frank Darabont recounts in The Shawshank Redemption's DVD commentary, Stephen King was not impressed with one detail of the movie's big twist: the hole that Andy leaves behind in his prison wall. According to the author, the hole in Andy's prison cell wall in The Shawshank Redemption was too cartoonish and round, stretching the suspension of disbelief a little too far.
Why The Shawshank Redemption's Cartoonish Hole Actually Works
While it is understandable where Stephen King is coming from, the cartoonish hole in The Shawshank Redemption seemingly serves a purpose in the movie's narrative. For starters, it clearly draws attention to what happened and immediately conveys how Andy escaped the prison to audiences. If the hole in the wall was not so evident, the impact of the twist would be dampened by confusion. Therefore, the round shape may be visually exaggerated in The Shawshank Redemption's ending twist, but it perfectly portrays how Andy's escape was a carefully planned endeavor that took years of determination and effort.
In many ways, the near-perfection with which Andy carves a hole in the wall also reflects his personality. Its cartoonish appearance is a direct contrast to the grim and oppressive environment of the prison, symbolizing how it serves a final gateway in Andy's undying quest for freedom. The neatness of the hole in The Shawshank Redemption's big twist seems to highlight how Andy is a perfectionist, which explains why despite working on his escape plan for several years, he goes unnoticed by the authorities of the Shawshank State Prison.