Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews!
There are hundreds of thousands of movies out there to watch. Some of them are bad, some are good, but every now and again, you will get a film that is so brilliant and it is loved by all and is usually someone’s favourite movie. 1994 was a year full of these incredible films. Pulp Fiction, The Lion King, Dumb and Dumber, Forrest Gump, Speed and there are still more movies I haven’t mentioned. One that stands out is The Shawshank Redemption. It’s ranked as the best movie of all time on IMDb with a 9.2/10 rating and is loved by millions. Some readers have been asking me for quite some time to finally get round to reviewing it and with that, I present to you my review on The Shawshank Redemption.
Directed by Frank Darabont (also known for The Green Mile) and with a story from Stephen King is The Shawshank Redemption. Set in 1947, Andy Dufresne is sentenced to a double consecutive life sentence following the murder of his wife and her lover, but Andy knows he didn’t commit the crime. He is put in the Shawshank State Penitentiary. While serving his sentence, Andy meets Red, a prisoner who he befriends. As their friendship develops, Andy grows bored of prison life and longs to escape from a place he knows he doesn’t belong to.
Andy Dufresne was played by Tim Robbins and is his most iconic role to date. Robbins’ portrayal of Andy was fantastic. He had range, emotion and his performance was so brilliantly done, but it is bettered by the on-screen chemistry between Andy and Red, played by Morgan Freeman. Similar to Tim Robbins, Red is Freeman’s most notorious role. Morgan Freeman was absolutely amazing in this film. As hard as I tried, I could find no fault with his depiction. Freeman was nominated for an Oscar for his role, and rightfully so. It is rare to find a performance as impeccable as this and reminded me of how perfect Samuel L Jackson was in Pulp Fiction. Bob Gunton played Warden Norton, the nemesis in our story. He was great as the sinister warden and he was awesome in this film. One of my favourite characters in the Shawshank Redemption was the caretaker, Brooks, played brilliantly by James Whitmore. His character arc could have had more development and I would have loved to have seen more from his character, but nonetheless, I loved this character. One of the best things in the Shawshank Redemption was the character chemistry. Whether it be between Brooks and Red or Andy and Warden Norton, each actor was able to adapt and act out a convincing and incredible relationship with one another.
The storyline was one of the smartest and most interesting I’ve ever seen. Stephen King ditches the typical horror story and opts for a different and new plot about a prisoner’s experience. Those who have seen the film know how it ends, and it was so cleverly and intricately done. That’s down to the collaborative effort of Darabont and King. The way it was depicted on the screen (from Frank Darabont’s direction) and the way that Stephen King had the story planned out with Andy’s funny walk and the posters and everything else was so intelligently done.
Admittedly, The Shawshank Redemption is not a perfect 10/10 movie, and there were things I didn’t like about the movie. It can be a little boring in places and it does drone on in places. It’s really in the last 45 minutes or so of the film where it is truly wonderful. Red is allowed out of prison, Andy plans his great escape and we see how it is done. The film has its high points, but seeing the final escape and how Andy did it was so perfectly coordinated and the way it was shown on screen was just so brilliant and mesmerising to watch. It brings together everything we’ve seen in the movie in a neat and amazing ending to the film. I loved watching Red and Andy reunite out of prison as it brought a smile a huge smile to my face and was the perfect ending to a great film.
One of the best things about the Shawshank Redemption is that it remains true to real life. It shows Brooks suffering and eventually going to hang him. It shows the Warden realising he has no escape and shooting himself. It shows the feelings and emotions and actions of those involved in prison life. The movie is bold and is not afraid to show that life goes on and is full of good things and bad things.
The Shawshank Redemption is considered to be one of the best movies of all time for a number of reasons. Firstly, the brilliant acting from all cast. It is a shame that it was released in the same year as Forrest Gump, as it would have done well at Award Shows, but Forrest Gump beat them to it. Secondly, the film is bold and brave enough to show the harsh reality of what people in that environment (not just prisoners, but wardens and caretakers too) experience. Thirdly, the incredible escape scene where all is revealed and we see that the wrongly accused Andy gets his well-earned freedom. And lastly, Morgan Freeman’s epic voiceover. Nothing can beat that.
Overall, the Shawshank Redemption gets a 9.1/10 from me. It was an amazing film that everyone should watch at least once in their lives. Despite being a bit dull in places, it is evident to see why so many people love this movie.
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Once again, thanks for reading this week’s review. Did any of you see the Lion King Teaser Trailer? The animation is gorgeous and it looks promising. But let’s face it, we’re all waiting in excitement for the Avengers 4 trailer with the big reveal of what the title will be. Anyway, join me next week for a review of an indie heist movie that’s not based on a true story. It IS a true story. See you then!