The Citizen Kane of the 1990s
In 1941, Citizen Kane was released to unflattering reviews, lukewarm box office reception and little acknowledgment from the Oscars. It went on to be regarded as a true legend of cinema. 53 years later, the Shawshank Redmption repeated the trick. Cursed by a title that did not strike a chord with the popcorn munching teens that bring in the big bucks, the film bombed at the box office. It's easy to understand the apathy; not only was the title unmemorable (acotrs joke years later how fans approached them in the street telling them how much they loved the 'Shinkshank Redness etc) and there is only one female speaking part in the film (a mere one line). With no sex, drugs or romance at all, the film was doomed. Yet it has become one of the most loved films of all time and has been an unparralleled success on video and DVD.
The film succeeds where many before and since have failed. It takes time to set the story. The protaganist, Andy Drufense remains a mystery for the first half hour and we are around the hour mark before we start to really learn about him. The other characters are there for more than background, with the detestable Bogs, Warden Norton and Captain Hadley and the loveable and wise old Brooks and Red. All bring new elements to the story. The relationship between the unlikeliest of friends in Red and Andy develops into the kind of quiet friendship between two people with seemingly little in common that only those who have experienced it will trully understand. The film climaxes with a good 30 minutes to go but has the courage to continue the story to give the tales its dues. By the end you will realise you have watched a true legend of the screen. Daring to tell the story at a slow pace and rely on characters to bring the plot to life in a way that does not need ultra violence, sex and cgi to juice it up, it shines and has quite rightly been regarded as one of the best films of all time. Well done guys, you may have flopped at the box office but you have given us all a film that will live forever and put you all in the history books, and for that, we are trully thankful.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Greatest Film Of All Time
| Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
I bought this DVD because I've seen it before and wanted to own my own copy. It's an amazing story and no house is complete without a copy of the Shawshank Redemption on their shelves. Probably one of the greatest movies of all time.
The Shawshank Redemption
In 1947, a banker named Andrew "Andy" Dufresne (Tim Robbins) is convicted of murdering his wife and her lover, based on strong circumstantial evidence. He is sentenced to two consecutive life sentences at Shawshank State Penitentiary in Maine, run by Warden Samuel Norton (Bob Gunton). Andy is quickly befriended by Ellis Boyd "Red" Redding (Morgan Freeman), a fellow inmate serving a life sentence who has recently failed to gain parole. Andy finds Red has connections on the outside who can acquire contraband for the inmates. He first asks Red for a rock hammer, explaining that he wants to use it to maintain his rock collection hobby, which he uses to fashion a home-made chess set. He later asks Red for a full-size poster of Rita Hayworth for his wall, replacing the poster over the years with ones of Marilyn Monroe and Raquel Welch.
While doing manual labor, Andy overhears Captain of the Guards Byron Hadley (Clancy Brown) complain about having to pay taxes on a forthcoming inheritance. Andy risks punishment by explaining to Hadley how to circumvent the taxes legally; Hadley accepts Andy's advice and rewards his friends with a brief respite and beer. Andy's financial advice is soon sought by other guards at Shawshank and nearby prisons, and Andy is given a space to work on their financial matters under the pretense of maintaining the prison library alongside elderly inmate Brooks Hatlen (James Whitmore). Hadley delivers a brutal beating to inmate Bogs (Mark Rolston), leader of "The Sisters," after his gang's sexual assault puts Andy in the infirmary; Bogs is paralyzed, and the remaining Sisters leave Andy alone. Andy uses his goodwill with the guards to expand the library; when one donation to the library provides him with the opera The Marriage of Figaro, he plays it over the public address system for all the inmates to hear, well-aware of the punishment of solitary confinement he will receive for the brief moment of bliss.
Warden Norton eventually creates a scheme to use prison labor for public works, undercutting the cost of skilled labor and receiving kickbacks for it. Norton has Andy launder the money under a false identity, in exchange for allowing Andy to keep his private cell and to continue maintaining the library. Brooks, freed on parole, is unable to adjust to the outside world, and hangs himself; Andy dedicates the expanded library to him. In 1965, Tommy Williams (Gil Bellows) is incarcerated on robbery charges. He is brought into Andy and Red's circle of friends, and Andy assists him in getting his GED. Upon learning of the crime of which Andy was convicted, Tommy reveals that one of his old prison-mates, Elmo Blatch (Bill Bolender) had claimed to have committed a nearly identical murder. Norton, fearing what Andy might do if released, puts him into solitary confinement and has Tommy killed by Hadley, claiming he was an escapee. While Andy is in solitary, Norton threatens to destroy the library if Andy does not continue to launder the money for him.
Shortly after he returns to his regular cell block, Andy tells Red of his dream of living in Zihuatanejo, a Mexican-Pacific coastal town, and instructs Red, should he ever be freed, to visit a specific hayfield near Buxton to find something Andy had left there. The next day at roll call, Andy's cell is found empty. Norton, in anger, throws one of Andy's rocks at the poster of Welch; the rock tears through the poster, revealing a tunnel that Andy had dug with the rock hammer
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
The Shawshank Redemption (DVD 2001)
The reason for purchasing The Shawshank Redemption was because a lot of people including friends and family said the film was brilliant - and it was!
The film is set in an American gaol around the 1950's. I am not going to tell you anymore about the film itself because it would spoil the enjoyment of the film. It is the best ending to a film that I have ever seen - well its on par with the ending of the Titanic and those of you that loved that would love The Shawshank Redemption. Although it is not exactly a love story, its emotional at the end.
I loved the film because of the ending! (I know I keep raving about that, but it is good). I also believe films set in and around prisons appeals to a lot of people because unless you have been in prison, people are curious about it and the unknown, so I also think this is what is good about the film.
The main part of the film didn't move fast, I'm not saying it was slow, but it could have been a little faster.
Overall, it was one of my best films and to give you an insight into whats my thing, I also like the Titanic and The Green Mile,(I also like others, but these are my favs).
Watch it - its great!
2 of 3 people found this review helpful.
The Shawshank Redemption - Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman
I bought this film when it first came out on video, then again on DVD. I assumed it was just another "innocent guy in prison" film, but I was most definitely wrong!
This is a compelling story set in the 1940's, of a wealthy banker Andy DeFresne (Tim Robbins), who gets imprisoned for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. His time in prison starts off more difficult than he can imagine when he meets toughened criminals and corrupt prison staff. He is soon befriended by Red (Morgan Freeman) the inmate who seems to be able to lay his hands on anything for the right price. Andy soon realizes in order to survive, he has to work with the corrupt staff, using his banking expertise to his advantage - and their's. The inmates warm to him and we get to see both the warmth of friendship and the cruelty of prison life. Years go by and Andy has seemingly settled with his fate. But in an unusual and unexpected twist in the tale (I won't spoil it) that I certainly didn't foresee, Andy's fortune changes overnight. An amazing ending!
Absolutely excellent acting from all and a film I can easily watch over and over again. Definitely my favourite all-time film!
2 of 4 people found this review helpful.