The Shawshank Redemption Review
A look in the past as I discuss my love for The Shawshank Redemption.
Shawshank is my favorite movie of all time. There has been dozen of articles analyzing and talking about the movie already. I would love to talk about how this movie holds up even after more than a decade of it's release.
The premise of the movie is pretty straight forward- A man is sent to serve double life sentences for crimes he did not commit. It's based on the Stephen King novel of the same name and in my opinion is the best adaption of his work.
Majority of the film takes place inside The Shawshank prison. It's a difficult task to keep the audience engaged when the movie is restricted to a single place. However the screenplay written by Frank Darabont finds different ways to keep the narrative moving forward. Andy meets an inmate Red played by Morgan Freeman. They form a friendship that we see mature throughout the film. Part of what makes this movie iconic is the dialogues between the characters. As the movie progresses we meet other people and none of them feel any less important. Sure Andy is our protagonist but we see other characters and their views on how the prison life has affected them. They treat the prison almost as it's own world with the rich and powerful controlling it. Even though it's a place for murderers these people seem to be the most human while the ones running the place are the true villains and are rather awarded and respected by the society. I find this aspect to be true no matter which time period we live in.
Warden Norton played by Bob Gunton is a menacing person. He's presented as someone with immence power and command over the whole place. Every time he's in a scene we know exactly who's in control. He emerges from the dark and tells the prisoners that they belong to him. That's the very first time we seem him in the film and that entrance has stayed with me ever since.
The film has an amazing soundtrack that let's you feel the weight of what's going on. It's upbeat at times and when it needs to be it quickly becomes dark and loud. That instantly sets up a scene. Roger Deakens is the cinematographer of the film and without him the movie wouldn't be as good as it is. Every shot of the film is immaculate.
Rewatching it over the years I've realized how well the story flows. It feels very organic. By the time the movie ends it feels like a lot of time has passed and you've reached the end of the journey with these characters.