View Full Version : 'The Shawshank Redemption' (1994)

Roger Dyer
30th June 2015, 12:25 PM
As with most things in life, it seems we are influenced by personal experience and many other factors that shape the way we think and act. Sometimes the reason for this is not always apparent. When we choose a favourite film for instance, could it be our choice is influenced by events within our own lives, part of a chemistry that allows a film to resonate with us far more easily than another film of equal merit. Perhaps it is a lot simpler than that....these days people rent a video or go to the cinema to be entertained just like they always have, but to this observer it would seem that the choice of films on offer are far less varied than they once were. Whilst that's fine for those whose tastes struggle beyond a diet of crash, bash, blood, guts and wobbly bits, it doesn't do much for those of us who prefer to watch a film of substance. These days, in Hollywood and elsewhere, there is a thriving industry churning out mindless dross at a rate of knots....'tis little wonder some of us still prefer the older films. We have become easy prey to manipulation by movie-makers the world over and more than ever before, the tail is wagging the dog......Rant over.

About 20 years ago when I first saw 'The Shawshank Redemption', I remember coming away from the cinema thinking I had just had the privelege of seeing the best film I had ever seen and was ever likely to see. Following a more recent viewing I realised that my earlier judgement had not been far misplaced and for me it remains as fresh and absorbing as it ever was. There have been several excellent films about 'life behind bars' or the 'prison genre' (for want of a better word). As mentioned elsewhere by Cappy, Paul Newman's 'Cool Hand Luke' and 'The Green Mile' are two that come to mind however I believe that 'The Shawshank Redemption' will ever remain the yardstick by which others of this ilk are judged.

Based on an earlier novella (part of a short-story collection) by Stephen King, the film's screenplay was written by the Director, Frank Darabont (King sold the rights to the story to lucky Frank for $1). Between them, Darabont, Tim Robbins (as Andy Dufresne) and Morgan Freeman (as Ellis 'Red' Redding) created a film masterpiece. They didn't quite realise it at the time, but they do now...it is a classic piece of cinema that shall remain timeless. They were supported by a superb cast, among them a gem of a performance by James Whitmore(as the tragic Brooks Hatlen), Bob Gunton (as the wicked Warden Norton) and Clancy Brown (as the brutal Captain Hadley). Production values were of the highest order and everything about the picture had a sense of 'reality'. Those watching this film are treated to a guided tour of almost every human emotion and behaviour. Hate, fear, loyalty, trust, kindness, brutality, Intelligence, bravery and sweet revenge. Above all it carried confirmation of the respect and warm friendship that can develop between two men who share a determination to confront adversity with that one essential ingredient - Hope !!! To top it off this film has a good-feel ending like you wouldn't believe. Many who have seen this film are often very surprised to learn that it never won an Academy Award. At the 1995 Oscars it was nominated for seven awards, including a 'best actor' for Morgan Freeman (does he ever give a bad performance ?). Many film critics still say that Freeman 'wuz robbed', but 'Shawshank' faced some pretty stiff opposition in a year that also saw, Forest Gump, Pulp Fiction, The Lion King, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Blue Sky and The Madness of King George, to name but a few. Some now believe that in any other given year 'Shawshank' and Freeman would have romped home. Following it's original release, the film received high critical acclaim although, strangely, the initial public response was not so generous. However, with the passage of time and a thriving video market, this film now outrates them all and is regarded by many film critics and movie-fans as the greatest film of them all.... perhaps my original judgement of this film has been vindicated after all.:D If there are some members who have never seen this film then I strongly recommend that you place it on your 'bucket list' before the 'grim reaper' comes a-calling. Without reservation, I promise you will not be disappointed.



Doc Vernon
30th June 2015, 10:08 PM
Indeed one very good Movie about incarceration and as said one of the best so far,i too have seen some others and they were also good,like Papillon which to me was also in the top possibly three of that kind!
Its amazing what really does go on in these establishments all over the World!
Thanks for this one!

Stan Carter
30th June 2015, 10:34 PM
indeed Roger, one of the best movies I have ever seen.
regards, stan

happy daze john in oz
1st July 2015, 06:36 AM
Good movies can be differentiated from the dross by the end titles. If you stay till the very last credit is seen then you have seen and been entertained by one of the best.