• Warning: Spoilers
    Shawshank Redemption, The (1994)

    **** (out of 4)

    An innocent man (Tim Robbins) is sent to prison on murder charges and once there he bonds with another man (Morgan Freeman) serving a life sentence. I remember seeing this when it was first released to theaters and walking out thinking it was a masterpiece but apparently others couldn't be bothered to see it since the box office results were very low and it was out of theaters in no time. Over the years the reputation of this film has grown and as I write this it's currently #1 at IMDb. I certainly wouldn't call this the greatest film ever made but it's certainly one of them. I think it's an insult to call this a prison movie because it's so much more than that. This is a film about friendship and hope. Those are two things that have played major parts in many movies but I can't think of too many films where the payoff is as large. What makes the film work so well is that director Durabont takes his time telling a story that takes place over twenty years. Another wonderful thing the director does is that he really makes the twenty years pass on a believable manor. Most films that jump time feel cheap and rushed but that's not the case here because the wonderful screenplay lets us get to know the two main character but also the supporting characters are very well written. What really brings this magic to life are the performances, which are downright brilliant and I'd argue that you can see some of the greatest ensemble acting right in this film. Robbins and Freeman are terrific together and really make for one of the most memorable friendships in movie history. The way Robbins walks and talks is perfectly done and I just love the way, as Freeman says in his narration, he walks around as if he didn't have a care in the world. Freeman gives another wonderful performance but what's really great about him is the narration he adds as he tells us the story. James Whitmore is terrific as the elderly convict and Clancy Brown and Bob Gunton make for excellent villains. I won't spoil the ending for anyone but the final twenty-minutes are at times breathtaking in their beauty and it's message of hope rings louder than most movies.