The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Film review: The Shawshank Redemption (1994), directed by Frank Darabont

theshawshankredemptionBased on the short story Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King, this is the best film in the world, according to IMDb’s users. It’s been #1 on the Top 250 list for a very long time now.

It’s 1947, despite being innocent, Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) is convicted of murdering his wife and her lover, and is sent to Shawshank prison. Andy isn’t a hardnosed criminal – he’s a banker – and as such, an easy target for bullies, like Bogs (Mark Rolston) and his gang.

Two years later, he overhears Hadley (Clancy Brown), the chief guard, complaining about taxes, and seeing as how Andy used to be a banker, he knows just what to do. And that leads to gaining the respect from fellow inmates, and even the Warden (Bob Gunton) gets in on the action. What could be better than someone doing your tax returns for free for the forseeable future?

And Andy? He seems to take prison life in his stride … I mean, what else is there to do when you’re in for life?

Also starring Morgan Freeman as “Red” (who is also the narrator), with William Sadler as Heywood, and Gil Bellows as Tommy, et al.

This is the best film in the world. I’m not sure I agree that it’s the Best Film Ever, but it’s oh so tremendously good. (Don’t ask me which film I consider the Best Film Ever if I don’t happen to agree that it’s this one, because I don’t know.) The story is riveting, the acting mighty fine, and the ending incredibly clever. It’s a film I’ve seen before and am happy to see again from time to time. It really is very good. Heartfelt, brutal, and overall fantastic.

Best Film Ever? Well, it’s definitely up there, even if there are others that perhaps feel more special for technical reasons rather than purely storytelling-wise.

5 out of 5 chess pieces.

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