Shawshank: when hope is all you have left

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February 28, 2014 by Welcome to the Jungle

shawshankThe Shawshank Redemption
Review by Amir E.
Directed by Frank Darabont,
Castle Rock Entertainment (1994)

 “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies”
The Shawshank Redemption is the best movie I have ever seen, and it is on the most remarkable movies that Hollywood had ever released. It gives you hope and aspiration, which is portrayed in the above quote, and it takes you in a magnificent one-of-a-kind journey that no other movie can take you through.
This movie was directed by Frank Darabont, and it is probably his most amazing work. The movie takes place in the United States of America in 1947 in a rough prison environment, that showed the cruelty of prison life at that time, and Darabont did an extraordinary work in portraying this tough environment to the viewer.
After the murder of his wife, a hotshot banker named Andrew Dufresne (Tim Robins) is sent to the Shawshank Prison for two life sentences. Life seemed to have taken a turn for the worse, but fortunately Andy befriended some of the other inmates, in particular a character known as Red (Morgan Freeman). Over time Andy and Red develop a unique friendship that found a way to shine in the dark environment of the Shawshank Prison, which helped Andy to find ways to live out life with relative ease as one can in a prison, leaving a message for all that while the body may be locked away in a cell, the spirit can never be truly imprisoned, and Eventually, He achieves his ends on his own terms.
The actors did a phenomenal job in portraying the characters, I almost felt that they were not acting. In a way Tim Robins and Morgan Freeman were actually able to convince me for two hours and twenty minutes that they are Andy and Red, and their true identities were vanished throughout the shadows of Red and Andy. Also James Whitmore portrayed a secondary character named Brooks Halted, and in one scene he committed suicide, and you just feel your heart skipping a beat when you see how amazing he was in this part. This movies is also filled with great scenes, but my favourite scene was when Red went every ten years in prison to a parole hearings man who asked him if he regretted his crime or not to see if they were going to set him free, and every time he gave an ideal answer and they refused to let him out, so after serving 40 years in prison this dialogue took place:
“Parole Hearings Man: Ellis Boyd Redding, your files say you’ve served 40 years of a life sentence. Do you feel you’ve been rehabilitated?
Red: Rehabilitated? Well, now let me see. You know, I don’t have any idea what that means.
Parole Hearings Man: Well, it means that you’re ready to re-join society…
Red: I know what you think it means, sonny. To me, it’s just a made up word. A politician’s word, so young fellas like yourself can wear a suit and a tie, and have a job. What do you really want to know? Am I sorry for what I did?
Parole Hearings Man: Well, are you?
Red: There’s not a day goes by I don’t feel regret. Not because I’m in here, because you think I should. I look back on the way I was then: a young, stupid kid who committed that terrible crime. I want to talk to him. I want to try to talk some sense to him, tell him the way things are. But I can’t. That kid’s long gone, and this old man is all that’s left. I got to live with that. Rehabilitated? It’s just a bulls**t word. So you go on and stamp your form, sonny, and stop wasting my time. Because to tell you the truth, I don’t give a s**t.”
Darabont also did a great job in giving me the feeling of life in the Twentieth century. The way the scene was set mixed with the music, the dialogue, and the great references to the 20th century gave me the feeling that I was living this journey a year by year. The camera shots were also amazing, especially in the way they helped in showing the life of the lower class in the American society, and in prison, also when a group of people were sitting, drinking or talking, the camera effects gave me the feeling that I was actually sitting with them, which was successful in telling a convincing story.

When it comes to special effects, this movie was not full of effects, probably because in 1994 the technology wasn’t as advanced as now, but for the few effects that were there, Darabont continued his extraordinary work, as the special effects portrayed the life of the lower class in the prison, which made the experience so vulnerable and memorable. The soundtrack also blended with the other aspects of the movie spontaneously, and it was a subtext for the time period that the movie was taking place at. The special effects and the soundtrack worked together simultaneously in setting the scene and the time period for the movie, which made it more AWESOME!
Overall, this movie is a MUST see, it is a great movie in every aspect, as it has great actors, great director, amazing story, extraordinary special effect and camera shots, and a remarkable plot twist that will blow you mind. This movie is really worth every cent you pay to see it, and you will really enjoy every single second you spend watching it.

Amir E. is a media studies student who loves Morgan Freeman movies.

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