Monday, August 16, 2010

The Shawshank Redemption

After a bite more of a hiatus than I had planned, we get back to movie reviews. We follow Morgan Freeman from The Dark Knight over to one of my all time favorite movies, The Shawshank Redemption.

The Shawshank Redemption centers around Andy Dufresne, a banker who is convicted of murdering his wife and her lover based on strong circumstantial evidence. Dufresne spends nearly twenty years in prison. During that time, he follows the principle of blooming where you are planted by maintaining as much of his previous life as possible. Drufresne befriends his fellow prisoners, in particular Ellis ’Red” Reddings (Moran Freeman) in his efforts to add humanity to their imprisonment.

Dufresne finds himself protected by the guards when he uses his banking skills in a money laundering scheme for the warden. Oe begins questioning Drufresne’s integrity at this point. He has up util now gotten himself into trouble on behalf of his fellow inmates. Now he is helping exploit them for his own benefit.

After a fellow prisoner reveals a story that might clear Drufresne is killed by the warden, the true story of the movie is revealed. Drufresne has had a twenty year plan of escape he finally completes after his betrayal. There is payback to the warden, too.

Now is a good a time as any to reveal my voice in the wilderness theory Drufresne actually did kill his wife and has been corrupt the entire time. No one else goes for the idea, but honestly, prison never seems to harden Dufresne enough that he would ecome a crook or set I motion a plan of revege that would lead to the warden’s downfall. The seeds of that would have to have been there from the beginning. Drufesne would always have had to possess the capacity for cold evil.

No one else goes for that theory, huh?

The resolution to The Shawshank Redemption is incredibly implausible. That Drufresne could hide his escape efforts for nearly twenty years is beyond all reason. Yet I accept it because the heart of the film is so compelling. The bonds that Drufresne forms with his fellow prisoners are genuine and sometimes touching. At times, I have to stop and realize these guys are murderers and rapists undeserving of such an emotional connection. It is the mark of a well done film that I have to do that.

The Shawshank Redemption was not a big hit at the box office, but was one with critics and word of mouth has given in a ew life on cable and DVD. It is a prison film, o there is a claustrophobic mood throughout. Some very unpleasant this happen that you can probably guess. I have already said the ending is implausible. Yet, things all come together to make a truly good film.

Rating: ***** (out of 5)

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