Directed by Frank Darabont
Written by Stephen King (novella) & Frank Darabont
Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton, William Sadler, Clancy Brown, Gil Bellows, Mark Rolston, James Whitmore, Jeffrey DeMunn.
In 1946, despite claiming his innocence, educated banker Andy Dufrensne (Robbins), is sent to prison for two life sentences over the murder of his wife and her lover. There he is subjected to the brutality of prison life, despite his soft nature. He befriends fellow ‘lifers’ in his stay, most notably Ellis “Red” Redding (Freeman).
Absolutely stunning and iconic film has soared in popularity after it was released in theatres in 1994. It actually bombed at the box office, and despite an astonishing seven Oscar nominations, it won none of them – losing to other films such as Forrest Gump. It now sits at the top of IMDB best movies list, and has held the top, or top 2 for a little over a decade.
One of the things that make this movie so brilliant is the script. Taken from the novella by Stephen King ‘Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption’ which is just 128 pages long. This movie is almost two and a half hours, so several scenes have been created or extended. Some story lines from the book are bettered to make more sense also (such as Tommy’s storyline). Filled with such emotive moments, it is hard not to feel genuine sympathy for Andy. The friendship that he develops with Red is one of the greatest friendships in cinema history, and it would be hard pressed to find a pairing better than theirs.
The performances by all involved are just beyond incredible. With an Oscar nominated performance by Morgan Freeman, but for me the best players goes to first, Clancy Brown as the brutal Capt Hadley. Coincidentally he would go on to play another prison guard a few years later in The Hurricane, and his role is much different in that film. Secondly the performance by the late great James Whitmore as Brooks; is incredible. His arc is heartbreaking, from his raising of Jake, to his release from prison. Your heart will break at ‘Brooks was here’
The score from FIFTEEN time Oscar nominee Thomas Newman is beyond exceptional, and worthy of another nomination.
An absolute masterpiece of filmmaking!