July 18, 2012

The Shawshank Redemption

It all started when I asked my brother to recommend a movie. I wanted to see something I would not normally see on my own and wanted to ask for another person's opinion. Immediately, my brother came up woth two titles, one of them was The Shawshank Redemption. I chuckled a bit because I thought the title was funny, especially Shawshank. I had no idea what it was, what genre of movie it belonged to, which actors were in it.

For those not familiar with the movie, please allow me to introduce it to you. The Shawshank Redemption was a drama film released in 1994. It starred Tim Robbins as Andy Dufresne and Morgan Freeman as Red.  It was directed by Frank Darabont and was written by Darabont as well. By that I meant to show you how insanely brilliant and talented the guy is. The screenplay was based on "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption," a novel written by Stephen King. You'd understand the role of Rita Hayworth after watching the movie. It had a production budget of 25 million dollars and had a revenue of only a little more than 28 million dollars. A sad number for such a revolutionary movie. But we all know the movie has enjoyed a lot more fame and success since then.

After watching it, it became one of my top 5, even top 3, movies of all time. It caught me by surprise how profound and how delicate the movie was. Sure it was a bit predictable, and I already figured out how the story would develop and end around the halfway mark. But it wasn't so much about the ending that mattered. It was the journey the protagonist took to get there. It was breathtaking, and left me complete in awe. There was constant tension in the air even though the moments were just silent and idle. There was always a feeling even though nothing extreme was really happening.

The story was about a man who was accused and persecuted for the murder of his wife and her lover. It's a simple start, and no one saw him kill anyone, but he ended up in jail anyway after a court hearing, which neither proved his guilt or innocence. Actually the courtroom scene was one of my favorite parts of the movie, mostly because of the conversation that went on between Andy, the protagonist, and the prosecutor. Andy claimed that he did think about shooting the couple, but didn't proceed to and just tossed the gun on the sea/lake. The prosecutor then proceeds to torment Andy and claim that nobody could find the gun and that it was very convenient for Andy. Andy then responded, "Since I am innocent of this crime, sir, I find it decidedly inconvenient that the gun was never found." That single line alone made me realize how great the movie would be. I don;t know why but I found this line to be one of the best, smartest, and face-slapping line in the movies I've seen. I think that line alone showed me the horizon that the movie will cover, how the protagonist would struggle while maintaining a certain cool and calm. 

It mostly showed the issues surrounding the prison setting. You know the jokes about prison, this movie tackled them, in a heartbreaking manner. There was violence, corruption, the never-ending game with the wardens whether or not a person deserves to be part of the society once again, the issue of being rehabilitated and what the hell it should mean. There were a lot of layers to this rich, creamy plot. It's like a delectable cake wherein each layer tastes delicious, but digesting it as a whole would be even more scrumptious. I felt that way, it was delectable! 

I didn't even realize the magnitude of this movie until I went to the internet and searched about it. I've said it before, but again, out of the 3 1994 movies in the AFI top 100, this one takes the cake of being the best. It's a shame the movie didn't enjoy the level of fame and success it;s enjoying now before. The movie didn't impress in he box-office before, and did not necessarily win the hearts of people when it was first released in 1994. But looking at it now, and realizing it's become part of our culture, maybe even having its own cult following, it's amazing how successful the movie had become. People from all generations are talking about it, talking about the issues presented in the movie.

I wasn't sure if now's the right time to write about this. To be honest, I've always been scared to write about it for two reasons. First, I consider it one of the best movies ever created that I really wanted to do the film justice. I wanted to make sure that what I'd write would be an accurate depiction of how great the movie experience was for me. Second reason was the apprehension of not knowing whether the people would identify with everything I'd be writing. I know that's a lame reason but I just didn't want to taint the movie because for me it was perfect and flawless. 

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  1. Recently just did a review for this one and realized that I still love this flick all of these years later. Just one of those films, you have to stop what you're doing and just watch it every time you see it on TV. Good review.

    1. It's one of my top three movies of all time. Powerful and just insanely good. I'm glad you liked what I came up with. Thank you very much!

  2. Thank you for the lovely review. I played Haywood in Shawshank and I don't think anyone involved in the filming ever imagined that it would be so beloved, so many years later. It's very gratifying.
    William Sadler

    1. Hi! Wow I can't believe you saw this and read it. I was just 4 when this movie was released, and I am really grateful I saw this some time ago. I am glad you liked what I wrote.