46 of 55 people found the following review helpful
***** A MUST OWN TIMELESS CLASSIC *****,
This review is from: The Shawshank Redemption [DVD]  (DVD)
What can you say about The Shawshank Redemption that hasn't already been said? It must be one of the best loved and indeed greatest films ever made. I do not know anybody that has seen this film that doesn't LOVE it. It really is that superb.
Adapted from Stephen King's novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, it tells the story of Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), an outwardly timid man convicted of murdering his wife and her lover and jailed for life. Arriving at Shawshank prison in 1947, Andy becomes the victim of prison brutality in the early part of his stay but he also befriends another lifer, the prison "fixer" named Red (beautifully played by Morgan Freeman) and his buddies. Through his knowledge of taxation and financial transactions he also becomes popular with the prison warden and the guard that runs his brutal regime but Andy also soon realises that in prison life means life and that's what they try to take from him.
This is the most beautiful and ultimately uplifting film you could ever hope to see, whilst recognising the traditional conventions of prison drama (such as brutality and rape), it is really a film that demonstrates that the human spirit can overcome brutality with faith, friendship (and a rock hammer). This is as close to the perfect film as you will ever get. It is perfectly cast from the leads Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins, who give wonderfully understated performances to the supporting cast of Clancy Brown, William Sadler, Bob Gunton and Gil Bellows. It is subtly directed by Frank Darabont who carefully manages to avoid overstatement and oversugaring the cake with sentiment and pathos.
The most amazing thing about this film is that although it was nominated for seven academy awards in 1994 it didn't win any (they were dominated by another great movie, Forrest Gump) and it is described in Leonard Matlin's film guide as "terribly overlong", "hollow and predictable". How wrong could you be? The Shawshank Redemption is a timeless all-time classic that will cast its spell over many people for a long long time to come.
Five stars are often too easily awarded by movie reviewers but this deserves six.