90s Movie Challenge Week 31: The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Hello again, 90s loving Constant Readers! You thought lockdown was over? Well, you were WRONG because this week our guest poster, CJ Dee (she of Gotham City Times) bangs us up for a spell in the clink as she looks at just why IMDB’s top-rated movie is indeed IMDB’s top-rated movie.
From 1994, it’s The Shawshank Redemption!
No good thing ever dies…
Like most horror-loving readers, Stephen King is my absolute favourite author. And The Shawshank Redemption is one of my favourite films based on a Stephen King story — in this case, Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption from the novella collection Different Seasons (the same collection that The Body, which last year’s #80sMC film Stand By Me was based on, Ed).
I just love that such an inspiring story of resilience and perseverance comes from the same mind that has spent five decades scaring the heebie-jeebies out of people. The horrors that are overcome in The Shawshank Redemption are human horrors set in reality, which does in a way make them scarier than evil cars and ancient beings posing as clowns, but it also makes seeing them overcome that much sweeter.
Though the whole film is really quite the emotional rollercoaster, Brooks’ story gets me every time. Not just because of his tragic letter but also because I wish he had taken Jake with him when he left prison. Having a pet would have been good for him and it makes me sad that Jake would have missed his human.
I love the cinematography of The Shawshank Redemption because its sweeping shots of the tall grey buildings and the overall look of the film make you feel almost like you’re in the yard with Red or walking through the dreaded gates of Shawshank for the first time with Andy.
Anyone who has ever heard Morgan Freeman speak knows that his voice is one of the most beautiful on the planet. His narration adds a richness to the story that is just magnificent.
Tim Robbins’ portrayal of the quiet and introverted Andy Dufresne is an absolute delight to watch. From strolling around the prison yard looking for rocks to vomiting while continuing to crawl through a sewer pipe, he nails the character’s extremes so well.
The characters are all so wonderfully brought to life that you end up feeling for them — positive and negative. Love for Andy, Red and their crew. Absolute contempt for the guards who abuse their powers. Loathing for the hypocritical and ultimately cowardly warden. Downright hatred for Bogs and the Sisters. Sympathy with Brooks and Jake. It is a truly talented cast and crew that can bring out such fiercely real emotions for fictional characters.
I literally do not have a single complaint or criticism of The Shawshank Redemption. The dialogue is witty, the humour is sometimes dark but still chuckalicious, the cast is superb, and the story — the story is written by a master and adapted for the screen by an equally skilled director.
Any movie with a run time longer than two hours runs the risk of feeling overlong, but I’ve never felt that with The Shawshank Redemption. To me, it’s one of those films that just pulls you in and doesn’t let go until it’s over and then, even if you’ve seen it before, you’re left wondering how something can come together so perfectly.
My absolute favourite part of The Shawshank Redemption was watching it a second time and picking up on all the hidden gems of foreshadowing. As a matter of fact, I might just hit that Play Movie button again and take it for another spin this evening…
Join us again for more #90sMC fun! Although the future’s not set, we can guarantee that next week We’ll Be Back! Our brilliant guest poster Chris Warrington will need your clothes, your boots and your motorcycle as he fires up the time machine and travels back to the summer of 1991 to look at Terminator 2: Judgment Day.