Want to see a near perfect film? Like to see a movie where the
people in it will undoubtedly get one or two best actor nominations
(and possibly a best director)? Like slow moving almost dreamy films?
Well, have I got a recommendation for you: see THE SHAWSHANK
THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION is based on a Stephen King book. Please
do not get turned off. This is NOT a horror show or even close to it.
It is the story of a strange quiet man (Tim Robbins) and his friend as
well as the story's narrator (Morgan Freeman). 95% of the movie is set
in a prison. Robbins and Freeman are both lifers. Everyone in the
prison claims to be innocent with the exception of Freeman and the only
one that appears to actually be innocent is Robbins. Robbins was a
bank vice president on the outside. Freeman's specialty in prison is
getting things for other prisoners. This plot setup happens in the
first few minutes of the movie. After that it turns into a film about
relationships and a dandy little mystery as well.
The acting is phenomenal. I knew Freeman could be this good
(remember him in GLORY?), but I had no idea the depth of Robbins acting
ability (my favorite of his before this was SHORT CUTS). Numerous
excellent feature parts as well, especially the sinister warden (Bob
Gunton) and the blood-thirsty head guard (Clancy Brown). Must have
been a dozen other prisoners in memorable acting roles. Casting was
right on the mark.
The director (Frank Darabont) really knew how to set the right
pace and keep it. He made no mistakes in my book. The well written
script (Frank Darabont and Stephen King) helped immensely as did the
dark and somber cinematography (Roger Deakins).
You can not say too much about this show without giving key facts
away so I will leave it at recommending you see it on a large screen
with a quiet audience as this is one picture that will absorb you, and
you want no interruptions. It starts well and ends well, but the 98%
in the middle is the best part. See it now!
THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION runs 2:25. The editing (Richard
Francis-Bruce) was perfect, and I would not have cut out a minute of
it. It is correctly rated by the MPAA as an R. It actually has much
less violence and profanity than you would expect in a prison show. I
would have no problem in letting mature teenagers see it - take 'em
with you, it is a serious show. I strongly recommend this perfect gem
of a show, and I award it my top rating of ****.
Copyright © 1994 Steve Rhodes