Genre: Crime, drama
Director/s: Frank Darabont
Writer/s: Stephen King (short story ‘Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption’), Frank Darabont
Running Time: 142 mins
Budget: $25 million
Released: 23 September 1994
Two imprisoned men bond after a number of years, finding solace and eventual redemption through acts of common decency – imdb
The Shawshank redemption is one of those films that I just never got around to seeing since it didn’t interest me at the time what with being ten years old and all, nominated for 7 Academy Awards and failing to win a single one due to being overshadowed by 1994’s top film; Forest Gump, The Shawshank Redemption has been called one of the greatest films of all time. So almost sixteen years after the film’s release I decided to see what all the fuss was about.
Well firstly, for the duration of the film, I was somewhat confused due to the fact that the film is based upon a Stephen King story, it just didn’t seem like the type of story that he would come up with, as to my knowledge Stephen King is known for his horror, science fiction and fantasy titles as opposed to the harsh reality setting of something like The Shawshank Redemption. I initially found the film to be somewhat underwhelming but as the film drew to a close and all the pieces fell together I could appreciate the genius of it all.
Though the film is clever and the acting, particularly of Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman, was brilliant I don’t quite understand why this film has reached such critical acclaim. The Shawshank Redemption isn’t genre defining and the plot isn’t the most spectacular and yet it has managed to leave a positive impression on me. As Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) is imprisoned in Shawshank prison, we see how he goes from unlikable nobody to popular somebody, especially since he befriends ‘Red’ (Morgan Freeman) the so-called ‘man who’s known to get things…from time to time’. Together these two men form a lasting friendship, reinforced my the brilliant acting of the aforementioned actors.
…I initially found the film to be somewhat underwhelming but as the film drew to a close and all the pieces fell together I could appreciate the genius of it all…
Due to the lengthy running time of this film, the writers were able to focus plenty of time on character development and it really shows as the more you watch, the more you see Andy and Red’s world through their eyes as well as the myriad of friends that they have. The truth of the matter is that the film is set in a maximum security prison in the late ’40s, this is the established setting of The Shawshank Redemption, at times it’s funny and though it is a very interesting and entertaining film, there is a harsh, almost foreboding atmosphere about it (Shawshank is a prison afterall) and oftentimes the setting is quite depressing.
The Shawshank Redemption isn’t something that usually appeals to my interests and thinking back, it was probably a good idea that I didn’t watch it all those years ago as I probably would have hated it and not have seen it through to the end (which would ruin it all together). Though I’d probably never watch it again, I still managed to thoroughly enjoy this film and recommend that all movie goers interested in heavy-handed drama stories give The Shawshank Redemption a shot.