The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Posted: June 2, 2011 in Hollywood

The Shawshank Redemption

Storyline

Two imprisoned men bond over a number of years, finding solace and eventual redemption through acts of common decency. –IMDb

Director:

Frank Darabont

Writers:

Stephen King (short story “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption”), Frank Darabont (screenplay)

Stars:

Tim RobbinsMorgan Freeman and Bob Gunton

Genres:

 Crime | Drama

Taglines:

 Fear can hold you prisoner. Hope can set you free.

I Watched the movie 16 years after its release. I must admit that i watched it out Of curiosity for its being on the top of the IMDb list. I wasn’t disappointed. Rather felt a sense of victory. It doesn’t have any action sequences or any romance or Anything of the sort. But it is one of those films that makes you feel Happy inside and yet sad that you may live many more years and watch Tons of movies but never feel the same climax or emotion that you get Out of this movie. This movie had the most powerful cast and amazing script, and all based on an awesome prison drama novel by horror-master Stephen King!

Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) is sent to Shawshank State Penitentiary in 1947 for the cold-blooded murder of his wife and her lover. Over the next 19 years, he does what he can to stay above the mire, consisting not only of the cruelty of his fellow inmates but the heavy hand of a brutal warden, Norton (Bob Gunton), a sadist who thumps his Bible while telling his charges that “salvation lies within.” Andy’s stubborn refusal to give up hope in the face of his incarceration engenders the wonder and friendship of several inmates, especially “Red” Redding (Morgan Freeman), who nevertheless wonders about Andy’s state of mind.

The Shawshank Redemption

Robbins depicts Andy Dufresne to be a reserved, humble protagonist. It is well-known that other actors were considered to play this role, such as Tom Hanks, but I believe Robbins’s presence works wonders for the storyline, allowing Andy to have a quiet temperament that lets him seem at peace with himself. He has nothing on his resume close to his performance here. Freeman puts on arguably the greatest performance of his lifetime in this movie. His narration lets the viewer connect even further with all the characters, and has a poignance that stays with you long after the credits roll. His “rehabilitated” speech ranks right up there as one of the all-time great movie moments.

Character development is greatly utilized here. Pop culture references (Rita Hayworth, Hank Williams, John F. Kennedy) help give one the impression of the passage of years, and Andy’s brave, witty exploits make him a likable hero. Violence and death are also put to use, with several characters dying within the story. We are made to embrace these seemingly real individuals during their airtime, and are hence moved by their tragic deaths. The failures of these characters make the final scenes of the film all the sweeter.

Another standout feature of The Shawshank Redemption is the music. Oh, the music! Thomas Newman’s musical score shines brightly and lends another dimension to this heartfelt tale. The triumphant piece heard at the end is one that you’ve likely heard before — as it has been used in movie trailers all over the world. The fact that The Shawshank Redemption did not win an Oscar for its musical score (or in any category for that matter) is almost incomprehensible. Though in a ’94 class along with Forrest Gump, Pulp Fiction, and The Lion King, I suppose it can be understood.

I will note that it is a definite ‘must see’ for all those who consider themselves “movie connoisseurs”. There are not too many negatives (if any) that can be said on the film. I will state, however, it’s current #1 ranking on the IMDb Top 250 is a little bit high though.

I guess I’m a little nitpicky, but my main beef is with the ending. The whole movie is about hope. *SPOILERS ALERT* If you wanted hope, then you should not have ended on a cheesy last scene where the old friends reunite and everything is alright. *SPOILERS END* It was touching, no doubt about it, but then the message of hope is dwarfed by our excitement that the two friends are together again. We leave the movie smiling instead of thinking. What I’m trying to say is that to make the core message stick to the viewers, the movie should have ended the scene before, when Red boards the bus and says, “I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams… I hope.” And as the bus drives away from the camera, the credits roll. But again, that’s only an honest opinion.

Watch this film alone and with attention and it will really get you involved and thinking and thats the beauty of it. I recommend it to everyone who enjoys watching beautiful cinema. I rate it 9 out of 10.

For the end i leave Andy Dufresne’s quote “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies”…

Watch the trailer….

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