Pantherboy's Summer Movie Series: Shawshank Redemption

ST. LOUIS - SEPTEMBER 2: Kenneth Darby #34 of the St. Louis Rams is tackled by Haruki Nakamura #43 of the Baltimore Ravens during an NFL preseason game at the Edward Jones Dome on September 2 2010 in St. Louis Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Shawshank Redemption is not just another prison movie. This remarkable story begins when the main character, Andy Dufresne(Tim Robbins), is sent to Maine's State Penitentiary for life after being wrongfully convicted of murdering his wife and her lover in the late 1940's. Dufresne, an intelligent former banker, proceeds to quickly form a friendship with "Red"(Morgan Freeman), who is the resident contraband-smuggling inmate. One of the first items that Dufresne is able to obtain from "Red" is a rock hammer, which he uses to make stone chess pieces.

After at least several gut-wrenching years in prison, Dufresne is able to make some inroads with the sadistically cruel Warden, Samuel Norton, by becoming his personal accountant. Before long, Dufresne is using his knowledge of tax codes to handle the tax returns of the prison guards at Shawshank and other nearby prisons. But Warden Norton wasn't just going to settle for some tax return perks. Dufresne would go on to become Norton's puppet in an elaborate money laundering scheme that would be waiting for the warden once he decided to leave Shawshank. But Dufresne had other ideas.

After twenty years in prison, Dufresne finally comes to a place where he is ready to break free. Can you imagine Warden Norton's rage when he discovers that Dufresne is missing during role call? He quickly runs into the cell, only to find that it truly is empty. In one disgusted motion, he angrily throws a rock at Raquel Welch, who is scantily posing on the wall of that cell in the form of a poster. Surprise, surprise, surprise. Would you believe that instead of a thud, that rock went completely through the flimsy material leaving a gaping hole. After ripping the poster away from the wall, Warden Norton couldn't believe what was before his eyes: A tunnel. Not just any tunnel. A tunnel that represented almost twenty years of painstaking patience and perseverance. A tunnel which was carefully created in the wee hours of the night over the past twenty years with one simple tool: A rock hammer. Little by little, Dufresne had been setting himself up for an escape, and his subsequent freedom. That's not all.

Remember that money laundering operation that Warden Norton had been using Dufresne to facilitate? For many years, Norton had been exploiting prison labor for public works by undercutting skilled labor costs, and was gladly stealing the kickbacks. Those profits were placed in an alias account at several banks with the aid of Dufresne, who was obviously an expert in handling such matters. However, the night before his escape, Dufresne cunningly took one of Norton’s suits and switched his ledger with the very prison Bible that he had been using to conceal his rock hammer in throughout all of those years. That ledger had all of the information that Dufresne needed to retire a rich man on the beaches of Mexico.

For the past four seasons, Safety Haruki Nakamura has been hidden away in relative obscurity behind the figurative prison walls of the Baltimore Ravens and Ed Reed. During that stint, he was, for all intents and purposes, locked up in a reserve role that wasn't going to afford him the chance to start anytime soon. By the time Nakamura's contract had ended in Baltimore, he was ready to pursue a more realistic opportunity elsewhere. Naturally, It didn't take long for him to figure out how badly Carolina needed help at the safety position, and when he realized the interest was mutual, a new lease on his football life was born.

Although Nakamura hasn't made it to the beaches of Mexico quite yet, he's certainly closer than he was before, and who knows, maybe he will find out that Carolina was the paradise he was looking for all along. Something tells me that, like Dufresne, Nakamura's own painstaking patience and perseverance is about to pay off because I believe the Panthers are about to make a big breakthrough of their own.

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