The Shawshank Redemption is a 1994 film directed by Frank Darabont and starring Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins. It follows two men who spend their lives in the Shawshank prison, and the way that it affects them. This movie is great, and the chemistry between Red and Andy holds it together. The one thing I didn’t like is that at times, it can feel a little sappy due to the way it bluntly tries to get the audience to feel certain emotions.
The Shawshank Redemption takes place originally in the year 1947, and it follows Andy Dufresne, an innocent, but convicted murderer who is sent to Shawshank prison over the death of his cheating wife and her lover. There, he meets Red, a fellow prisoner who is known for smuggling items for fellow prisoners. There are a lot of twists and turns within this film, so naturally I’m not going to spoil the rest of the plot here.
Th relationship between Andy and Red is excellent. They have good chemistry and genuinely feel like they are friends. Certain scenes like Red giving Andy poster boards after he’s released from solitary really sell their relationship. The other characters are ok, mostly just cliche characters for every prison movie. There’s a brutal and unfair guard, a warden that is literally just a rip off from the one in escape from Alcatraz, and various prisoner stereotypes. They all serve their purpose, however, with the exception of perhaps the older prisoner Brooks who has a particularly stand out scene, none of them feel as fleshed our or well written as the main two characters.
The big thing I didn’t enjoy about this film, or found annoying, is that the movie is extremely blunt in the way it steers the audience. The score is very noticeable, and feels almost manipulative at times with the way it so clearly wants the audience to feel for the characters. The narration by Red can feel needless at times, and seems to have been done in purpose in order to make emotional scenes even more powerful. If anything, all these things lower how powerful some of the scenes are, because it makes it seem like the movie can’t show the audience a scene without trying to artificially enhance it through big annoying musical swells and narration in order to make the audience think the scene is greater than it actually is. I may be in the minority about this but these things got on my nerves.
Overall, although The Shawshank Redemption comes off at times a bit manipulative with the way it handles certain scenes, it ultimately is a good movie, and certainly a classic. It’s worth seeing, and I would definitely recommend it.