The Shawshank Redemption (1994) Review
Andy Dufresne is convicted of murdering his wife and her lover and must serve two life sentences for this crime, but did he actually commit it? He is sent to Shawshank prison and it certainly is a tough place to be.
This is a rather difficult film to collect thoughts on considering how much praise it receives and how well-loved it is. Pretty much always number 1 on the top film lists, or at the lowest number 5? Well anyway I know recently it topped a poll in the UK for the nations favourite film. So when it appeared on Netflix a few nights I go I decided that a re-watch was a good idea. In all honesty I cannot remember the last time I watched it, but I could only remember a few scenes. Believe it or not the ending was not one of those either.
The performances are incredible from all of the cast and Tim Robbins really shows that he is just fantastic, and obviously Morgan Freeman who I’ve never seen perform badly is off the scale. Also narrating the film as well, let’s face it he really does have one of the best voices ever. The little bits of narration help to keep the tempo of the film and flows it over nicely to help clarify how many years have been passing over.
Andy does seem like a very quiet man but it is very clear from the start that he is a very clever man. This is something that will work in his favour. But don’t mistake that it was going to be easy for him to begin with especially as he is targeted very early on by the awful “sisters” who beat and abuse him on a regular basis, trying to fight them off. This certainly does create some very difficult to watch scenes, but certainly relevant to the story and to show what Andy must battle against.
The inmates find different things to bet on to keep themselves amused and the time passing. There isn’t a guilty man in Shawshank though, that’s something that does make you smile. Although Red does admit that he committed his murder and I think that is something that has come from the amount of time he has been in the prison. The story at times will certainly tug at your heart-strings and break your heart a few times as well.
As you the film grows on it does an incredible job of making you care about the different characters, I think that is a major factor to why this film is so well-loved and thought about. The character development adds to the story and build up your feelings for the inmates. Which at times makes you judge your own thoughts as most of them are in for life for murdering someone. Although we aren’t given a massive in-depth look at the crimes, that is not the most important thing about the film. It is how they are coping with the guilt and redemption of the crimes committed.
The friendship between Andy and Red really does become something else and has to be one of the best ever in cinema history. They help each other survive and really do care about one another and bond always looking out for each other. The prison guards are very corrupt and stop at nothing to have the power over the inmates, you think Andy has managed to get past that but ends up in over his head. Especially when someone can help prove he is innocent, that is very quickly taken care of and hidden by Warden Norton.
Another incredible thing about this film, a little spoiler ahead is that it does not seem like a prison break story at all. So that part is amazing for that reason as well, it is unexpected and lets face it lovely in the rain after where he had to crawl through. That scene is brilliant. I must admit that in my head that was the ending. But there’s a little bit more to come after that, honestly I could not remember the exact ending at all.
I like that it touches on how difficult it is for the older men to be released after spending their life in prison and that it is hard for them to cope with society anymore. Brooks was a heartbreaking character and helped to show all of that, something that really does make you wonder about redemption and if some people really can be sorry for a crime they have committed.
It really is an incredible film.