"The Shawshank Redemption": Blu-Ray, DVD Movie Review

11/26/2010 Posted by Admin

"The Shawshank Redemption"

Blu-Ray, DVD Movie Review

Directed by Frank Darabont, Written by Frank Darabont and Stephen King (novel), rated R, 142-minutes.

By our guest blogger, Matthew Schimkowitz

In the emotionally rich and brilliantly acted "The Shawshank Redemption," now out on Blu-ray disc, director Frank Darabont doesn’t just observe prison life.  He also observes how the jailed find life beyond the bars, as one convict uses his outside experience to chip away at the prison’s concrete walls. Thanks to a rousing script and superb cast, "Shawshank" is Darabont’s best film, and one of the best of the '90s.

Like everyone in Shawshank Prison, Andy Dufresne (Tim Robins) is innocent. Jailed for his wife’s murder, Andy serves his time in quiet reflection. He learns the ins and outs of the prison, aiding the inmates and faculty with his prior knowledge as a banker and geologist.

Red (Morgan Freeman) observes him as he makes his way up the food chain and builds relationships, which grant him the ability to make prison bearable, while regaining his civil rights. Andy teaches others and inspires Red, who takes a shine to Andy if, for no other reason, because he wants to see what he’ll do with his resources.

Darabont’s script blends the crisp dialogue of movies from 1940s Hollywood with profanity. His words capture the hopefulness of Frank Capra, the snappy delivery of Raymond Chandler and the hard profanity of Martin Scorsese. It’s this mix of old and new that should appeal to a wide array of viewers.

For Darabont, it’s not just what is said, but who is talking and how they say it. Red’s narration distances us from Andy, making Robins’ reserved style even more interesting. Since we only get commentary on Andy, his successes and failures surprise the viewer and provides Darabont with a different approach to character study.

"The Shawshank Redemption" continues to inspire 15 years after its release. Andy’s struggle to regain freedom inside prison is both moving and thought-provoking. Darabont’s tight script matches his classic directing style. In his homage to the old guard of filmmaking, he weaves a classic tale that stands with his heroes and, in some cases, surpasses them.

Grade: A

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