October 3, 2016 6 min to read

The Shawshank Redemption (1994) Review – Inspirational Movie Monday

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The evening I wrote this marked the 22nd anniversary of The Shawshank Redemption being released in theatres. It only made 28 million at the box office on a 25 million dollar budget. So it would be considered a flop, but it made a killing when it was released on home video and it also holds the number 1 spot on IMDb’s top 250 films of all time list.

I still remember the first time I watched The Shawshank Redemption. I was living in Winnipeg and it was before Christmas, so they decided to not make us do work at school because the christmas break was fast approaching, so they didn’t want to add to the pile of crap they had to mark. I was in grade 7 I think, and they decided to show a movie, because what else were they to do? The movie they showed was of course this fine masterpiece. I remember sitting with a group of friends who were goofing off and kept talking, and I remember moving closer to the TV in order to be in the film, I was so fascinated, and ever since then its been a movie I’ve watched about once a year, sometimes even more than once, its one of my favourite movies.

This is one of those movies I would watch between or after studying for exams. This movie has many lines that are not only some of my favourite movie quotes of all time, but they’re quotes I use in day-to-day life. This movies underlying theme is hope, and when I need that extra bit of hope, I turn to The Shawshank Redemption. As cheesy as it is, I find redemption in the hope that is portrayed in the movie.

The Shawshank Redemption is a crime, drama film. The story is about two imprisoned men who bond over a number of years, finding solace and eventual redemption through acts of common decency.

The Shawshank Redemption is directed by Frank Darabont. He also adapted the screenplay from a short story from Stephen King. Frank Darabont always is a great director, and this film is definitely his magnum opus. He is a master of his class, and he is the teacher. His filmography also consists of The Green Mile (1999), The Majestic (2001), The Mist (2007). He was also the creator of The Walking Dead (2010-2016) and he wrote the screenplay to A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1987). I think that Darabont is a great director and a great writer, all his characters seem very normal and you can relate to every one of them at one point or the other. You feel like you’re a part of the story, and you get lost in it. I feel like this is the sign of a good director, if he can suck you in by his movie and you feel what the characters feel or you relate to the characters and apply a part of your life to the movie, then you’ve done your job as a director and created a great film, in this case The Shawshank Redemption is a masterpiece.

You definitely know the actors in this movie, whether its because you’ve seen this movie or you’ve recognized them in others. Theres a whole lot of them, so forgive me if I omit some. Tim Robbins plays the main character Andy Dufresne. His other films include Top Gun (1986), Jacob’s Ladder (1990), Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999), High Fidelity (2000), Mystic River (2003), and War of The Worlds (2005). I’ve always really liked Tim Robbins, I think each of his characters is something special and different. He’s always a pleasure to watch on screen. My favourite role he did was his portrayal of Andy, no matter what the obstacle was, you could relate to him, and he seemed real. Morgan Freeman is also in this movie, he stars as Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding. You’ve probably heard of this guy…maybe? if you haven’t you may want to brush up on your actors. His other films include Glory (1989), Driving Miss Daisy (1989), Unforgiven (1992), Se7en (1995), High Crimes (2002), Bruce Almighty (2003), Million Dollar Baby (2004), The Dark Knight Trilogy (2005-2012), Gone Baby Gone (2007), and Ted 2 (2015). He’s been in so much, and his voice is just so excellent. He did a wonderful job in this movie too, you always loved his character, well lets be honest, I loved every character in this movie that was worth loving. This would definitely be my second favourite Morgan Freeman movie, as I’ll always have a soft spot for his 1995 David Fincher classic – Se7en.

The film also stars Bob Gunton as Wardon Norton. I always know this actors face, but its not until I IMDb him that I know his name. But he has a very extensive filmography – Glory (1989), Demolition Man (1993), Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995), Patch Adams (1998), Dead Silence (2007), Fracture (2007), The Lincoln Lawyer (2011), and Argo (2012). You know you’ve got a skilled actor, when you can go from one minute of really liking the character, to in turn hating the character. He was a mean old sack of shit warden in this movie, but he played it so well. Finally, the last actor I will talk about because if I kept going, we’d be at 7,000 words. But William Sadler is also in this movie, i’ve always liked him as an actor, he was great in this movie especially. You may not know his name, but you DEFINITELY know his face. His other films include Die Hard 2: Die Harder (1990), Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight (1995), The Green Mile (1999), The Mist (2007), August Rush (2007), Eagle Eye (2008), and Man On A Ledge (2012). Sadler did a good job of adding his own personal touch to the lines of the film and a lot of the lines that he delivered in the movie I would laugh, he was genuinely funny and he did a great job.

In all, along with the story, the casting and acting in this movie was wonderful. Everyone did an absolutely wonderful job in their roles. You haven’t seen acting this good, and the chemistry that all these actors had, especially those who were around Andy, Red and Heywood the whole movie, like their group of friends. It was unbelievable the chemistry they had, you would have thought that they’ve been friends for years.

The soundtrack I think also fits very very well with this movie, its hauntingly beautiful and just fits the movie so well. Its nothing over the top, but its subtle and when the music comes in, you’re taken to another level.

The one thing I really took away from this movie, that always inspires me and helps me in my own life, is one very important line. This line has rang true for me ever since I first saw this movie. And that line would be:

“Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”

This line is like poetry, every time I hear it or every time I read it, I get goosebumps, its hauntingly beautiful.

I find a lot of solace in this movie, hopefully you viewers do as well. If you’ve seen this movie, and maybe didn’t think this way, give it a re-watch, I think this will open your mind a little bit and give you the inspiration that I get out of it.

You better believe that The Shawshank Redemption gets a 5/5.

Until Next Time, stay inspired!

-Andrew

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