Monday, October 19, 2009

The Shawshank Redemption (Review)

     "The Shawshank Redemption" is one of my all time favorite films.  It's one of those movies that, when it's playing on some movie channel, no matter how much I missed, I still get drawn in and soon find myself completely engrossed, watching till the very end.  It had been on cable a lot lately, and I have been catching it, over and over, here and there, so, when I caught it at the very beginning tonight, I had to watch it, and I had to review it. 

     "The Shawshank Redemption", based on a short story written by Stephen King, (why is it that Stephen King horror novels made into film or television program never really seem to live up to the book, but his short stories make such incredible movies?) is a well written, well directed tale about a banker, Andy Dufresne, played by Tim Robbins, who is convicted of murdering his wife and her lover and sentenced to two consecutive life terms in prison.  The story is narrated and told, primarily, from the perspective of fellow prison inmate, Ellis Boyd Redding, or Red, (because he's Irish) played by Morgan Freeman.  The story chronicles Red and Andy's stay in prison, and hope.  Hope that Andy never gives up on.  Hope that Red give up long ago, but, ultimately, finds again.  It seems like too simple of an idea for a two hour and twenty minute movie, but you'll never notice the time.  The story carries you along and keeps you hanging on every moment, then, suddenly, springs open like a jack in the box, revealing parts you never knew existed, but were right there in front of you the whole time. No matter how many times I see it or how well I know every detail, the story and the almost prose like dialogue, eloquent, befitting of character, and ineloquent, when necessary, still manages to enthrall me every time. 

     Freeman and Robbins are great actors who give great performances.  They are joined by a colorful cast of supporting characters, each of which has their own story and each of which grows over the course of the story.  The dialogue, especially between Andy and Red, is both natural and memorable.  The story is complex, yet, easy to follow and lose yourself in.

     It's difficult to give this film the high praise it deserves and not sound like the rambling of an enamored school girl savoring her first crush, so I'll stop here by saying that, to truly understand the greatness of this film, you simply must experience it for yourself, and it is an experience I strongly recommend.

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