261 of 282 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Greatest Movie Not to Win an Oscar
It has long been my contention that it is the moviemaker's task to hold the viewer's attention, not to burden him with his self-indulgent, difficult-to-follow symbolisms.
That having been said, I find it difficult to find another movie I would recommend more highly than The Shawshank Redemption. Without any high-adrenaline action sequences or steamy sex scenes (two...
Published on June 11, 2003 by Ariel Escasa
19 of 26 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great Film, Less than stellar DVD
This may be my all time favorite film, which is why I have the most trouble understanding why it recieved only minimal treatment in the DVD format. With all the great "Special Editions" and "Criterion Collection" films that have come out, films that are worthy of true in-depth exploration, why hasn't Shawshank gotten its proper DVD release for the...
Published on June 2, 2002 by Richard Johnston
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261 of 282 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Greatest Movie Not to Win an Oscar,
That having been said, I find it difficult to find another movie I would recommend more highly than The Shawshank Redemption. Without any high-adrenaline action sequences or steamy sex scenes (two sure-fire ways to get the vewer's attention), this film somehow has the power to make you sit through all 142 minutes without for a moment getting bored. And I challenge anyone who has seen it to delete any scene, even any minute, from the final edit. The fact is, you can't. Because every single scene is an essential element that contributes to the final result: a masterpiece that captures the drama of enduring friendship and resiliency of the human spirit more powerfully than any other film ever made. Even those who normally do not watch movies with a critical eye will find themselves so drawn into this experience. I really can't say enough about this film. Suffice it to say that this is certainly the Greatest Movie Not to Win an Oscar. (Since Citizen Kane, at least. )
Actually, I can forgive the Film Academy for not honoring this film with the Oscars I firmly believe it deserved. But when the American Film Institute in 1998 put together their list of The 100 Greatest Movies of all time (covering the period from 1896-1996), and so myopically overlooked Shawshank in favor of such titles as Rocky, Dr. Strangelove, Network, and Jaws, well, I thought that was absolutely ridiculous.
I wouldn't hesitate to put it in the top five of all time.
90 of 94 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Triumph, One of the Best Movies Ever Made,
295 of 324 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Although not a special edition, still a fine DVD,
Every so often in everyone's life, they walk out of a movie that they consider perfect. A movie where you don't sit through it and think to yourself how you might have done it all differently had you been the director. I have a couple of movies like that, and "The Shawshank Redemption" is one of them. I still remember clearly walking out of the theater in 1994 and thinking that I've just seen one of the best movies that I'll ever have the pleasure of sitting through. A movie so elegant and emotional that is perfect in its way of storytelling. A movie that is about how hope can never die. The movie earned several Academy Award nominations that were certainly well-deserved, but it left theaters all too quickly. Over the years though, it has gained a strong cult following.
The movie stars Tim Robbins in one of his very best performances as Andrew Dufresne, a quiet man who is convicted of the murder of his wife and is sent to Shawshank prison. It's there he meets "Red", a convict played by Morgan Freeman who gets things from the outside for a price. He first sees Andy as he's lead into the prison and predicts that he won't last long inside the prison walls. Over time though, he's suprised that the young man is able to survive and soon, the two become friends with respect for each other. Andy is not a man who "fights the system". He spends his days in his own quiet world, a courage that the other prisoners don't quite understand at first. Robbins has built this character in a way that we the performance is not showy, but subtle. The result is that we want to know more and when we do begin to understand his ways, that only makes us want him to succeed that much more. I won't go into much more in the way of detail about the movie; if you haven't seen it, I don't want to ruin any of the enjoyment of the movie; if you have, I'm sure you already have your feelings about the movie. This is a movie that's not depressing; it has a lot of life to it and I think that when they look back at the 90's, they will see that this is one of the best pictures that was released during this time.
Yes, Warner Brothers has proven to made an error in judgement about their way of going about putting this DVD out. There was an announcement over a year ago, I believe; then previous announcements came later after the first delay promising a director's commentary, then a Morgan Freeman commentary, then, in the final moments before the DVD is released this week...nothing. It's a shame, as "Shawshank" is a film deserving of much more. I suppose part of me is happy with the fact that this film is finally on DVD, although if this is the final product, there is no reason in my mind that this couldn't have been released a long, is an excellent looking image. One of the best cinematographers in the business (Roger Deakins- "Fargo") did the filming on this picture and the pale colors are represented well throughout the picture, mainly browns and greys. Like the movie, there is an elegance to the visual style on this picture that is apparent in every movie that Deakins has worked on. Images are clear and crisp throughout; sharp, but not overly sharp for a "smooth" feeling that looks very film-like.
There are few problems, and none of them are terribly distracting at all. There is a slight shimmering in a scene or two and some very small instances of grain. Other than that, this is an excellent looking image that will certainly beautiful sound mix. It's also a newly remastered 5.1 mix. It's not flashy or showy, nor does it need to be. It does however, do what it needs to do best very well. The score by Thomas Newman is absolutely wonderful and it sounds clear and crisp throughout the picture. Surrounds are put into use occasionally, but always in a subtle way that is right for the picture. What I was pleased about most though, was how rich and clean the score sounded on this DVD. Dialogue is clear and without problems as well. Again, Non-animated main menus that have the score playing in the dissapointment of this DVD; all that's included is the trailer and some production stills.
Final Thoughts Although it's unfortunate that this isn't the special edition that it should have been it is a must for any collection. I'm happy the film is finally being realized by more and more people as a classic piece of filmmaking, which I've always considered it to be.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superlative Shawshank,
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most incredible story ever filmed!,
It was two precious years before my brother convinced me to see it. I must say, no film has ever driven me to tears like this one did. It is a compelling story of the strength of human character, emerging from the most hopeless of situations. As it turns out, hope is exactly what empowers the prisoners of Shawshank.
(Spoiler ahead!) The cinematography and musical score are magical, especially in the scene where Red is dropped off in Buxton to search the fields for Andy's stash, and where he finally reunites with Andy in Mexico. It just streams with emotion. The script: superbly written. All this was put together by a talented director who can go to his grave knowing he orchestrated one of the finest films in history. Of course, Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton, William Sadler, Clancy Brown and other supporting cast members deserve much credit for the emotion they put into their respective characters.
If you are one of the unfortunate people who haven't seen this film, you're missing out, big time. I envy those who are watching it for the first time. It is so completely engrossing a story, never boring, with a truely satisfying ending. It exudes hope. It defines redemption.
28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Most Satisfying Ending In Motion Picture History,
This review is from: Shawshank Redemption [VHS] (VHS Tape)The Shawshank Redemption is by far, one of the greatest movies of all time. It is ultimate story of how hope truly never dies, and how good things finally happen to good people.
Tim Robbins, in his finest acting job to date, plays the wrongly convicted Andrew Dufresne. He is sent to Shawshank Prison for killing his wife and her lover, and there he meets Red, played by the ever talented (and one of the best voice-over voices of all time) Morgan Freeman. The chemistry between the two is so amazing throughout the entire movie, and you can clearly see it flow.
You really begin to feel for Andy and his quiet demeanor peppered with subtle emotions. Just when you think the movie is going a certain way, the plot takes an incredible turn that leaves you sitting there with your mouth open. From this point, just when you think the film is heading towards its almost certain climax, it twists another way, leaving you sitting there, not being able to control your giddy smile.
The film is wonderfully written, and the actors were superb. It has a beautiful flow to it, and you can't help but enjoy the masterpiece that you are viewing. You will definately be pleasantly satisfied. This film is an excellent addition to anyone's video collection.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Triumphant celebration of the human spirit,
Based on the Stephen King novella ' Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption ' this really has become a modern day classic. Other films have grossed more, and may have a more immediate following, but Shawshank will endure for years, and become another 'Casablanca ' loved by generations to come.
The film tells the story of Andy Dufresne, sent to the maximum security prison of Shawshank for the murder of his wife and her lover. Played with an under-stated intelligence by Tim Robbins in a career defining turn, and supported by sterling performances from Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton, William Sadler, Clancy Brown, and veteran James Whitmore. Morgan Freeman's work is particularly notable, not just for his performance ( let's face it, the man doesn't know how to give a bad one! ) but also for the fact that his is the voice of the film. His chocolate-rich tones were director Frank Darabont's choice for the voice-over of the film, as if his character Red is talking to us, and explaining the sub-text of the film. Voice overs often dont work ( Blade Runner being a prime example ) but this one does, perfectly.
Beginning at a slow pace, the film begins with the brutal de-humanising regime meted out to the 'Fresh Fish' as they begin their incarcaration in Shawshank. I remember suggesting my wife watch the film after I'd seen it, and she, being of a considerably more sensitive nature than me, found the early scenes difficult. If you too find the opening 45 minutes a tad heavy going, stick with it - the reward is worth it.
Eventually as we progress through the film, we see how Red's initial suspicion of Andy becomes a deep respect, and eventually a deep friendship, indeed it would be true to say that these two men love each other like brothers by the end. There are a few key scenes that really stick in the memory - the rooftop scene, the opera aria scene, the exam result scene - all of which enable us to begin to like these men, men we probably wouldn't have wanted in our homes before the film, but who we'd happily sit down to dinner with after.
The film's true emotional impact of course comes in the final third as we learn the truth about Andy's guilt or otherwise. True to many of King's works, there is a twist in the end which leaves us all stunned, and with a big stupid grin on our faces. The total and utter defeat of the dark forces in the film is accomplished with such applomb that you find yourself rooting for the bad guys - the prisoners, a bunch of murderers and misfits that two hours earlier you were deeply suspicious of. Indeed the last section of the film plays almost totally without our hero, and remains almost my favourite portion of it. By this time we are crying out for the final fulfilment of our hopes for the characters. It is to Frank Darabont's eternal credit that he accomplishes this in a scene without dialogue, and a sweeping panoramic withdrawl from the characters, leaving us with not a dry eye in the house, and a feel-good glow that lasts for days.
... while in [a local store] I noticed this man and wife trying to decide which DVD they would buy to view that evening. I pointed to Shawshank. "Ever seen this one?"
"Trust me" I said, "It's the best movie you've never seen." He bought it, and I like to think I made that man and wife cry, laugh and smile that evening.
To conclude, Warner Bros and Castle Rock - SHAME ON YOU! This movie deserves better. The Region 2 version rocks, so get busy, re-package, and give us fans the extras this classic deserves!
P.S. The ten-year anniversary edition has righted many wrongs. The film has finally been done justice. I watched it again the other night, and again my eyes welled up at the end. Either I am a wus, or I'm right, or maybe both! Yeah, both!
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deluxe treatment for a terrific movie,
This review is from: The Shawshank Redemption (Two-Disc Special Edition) (DVD)"The Shawshank Redemption" based on Stephen King's short novel "Rita Hayworth and The Shawshank Redemption" finally gets the deluxe treatment. This 10th Anniversary edition has a beautiful, rich, vivid and sharp transfer. While there's some minor digital blemishes, it looks remarkably crisp with a faithful reproduction of the original theatrical appearence of the movie. Although some of the darker sequences are a bit murky, the DVD compression doesn't effect the look of the movie substanially.
Tim Robbins plays a banker convicted of murdering his wife and her lover on circumstanial evidence and send to Shawshank prison for two life terms. He befriends Red (Morgan Freeman)while on the inside and begins quietly trying to rebuild as close to a normal life as possible behind bars becoming a good friend to Red's circle of friends as well. Most folks are probably familiar with this well written and directed movie so I'll skip any additional summation of the plot. Besides, to reveal more would spoil the pleasure of viewing this treasure.
The first disc consists of the movie with a great commentary track from writer/director Frank Darabont. Darabont discusses the difficulties in adapting King's short novel and the challenges to translating literature to the screen. He also discusses some of the changes he made to King's novel to make it work better as a dramatic presentation and the challenges of casting, performance and location shooting. It's an enlightening commentary track that educates as much as it entertains.
The second disc includes "The Charlie Rose Show" segment devoted to "The Shawshank Redemption" and features Darabont, Robbins and Freeman in a great discussion on the making of the film. It's clear that all involved enjoyed working together and that atmosphere carries over to the film that they created together. We also get 2 marvelous documentaries; the first "Hope Springs Eternal: A Look Back at The Shawshank Redemption" is a marvelous featurette that covers everything from what inspired Darabont to adapt King's short novel in the first place to the rigors of producing a film at an abandoned closed prison. "Shawshank: The Redeeming Feature" examines the powerful impact of the movie and features a number of prominent critics and individuals that both discovered this powerful movie when it played in cinemas and on home video. It's not as involving as the first featurette but does give a wealth of detail about the reach and scope of a work of art when it touches an audience in a unique, personal way.
We also get the comic spoof of the film "The Sharktank Redemption" which is actually quite funny. I hadn't seen this before although you'll appreciate it best after having watched the movie. Storyboards, a still gallery and the original theatrical trailer are also included. All are of top quality.
The Special Edition Boxed Set includes the BFI book published on the film. It's quite a good book and would be a great reference for film buffs. It's also got a wealth of insight some of which will be worthwhile to film students and hardcore fans of the film. On the other hand, the more casual fan will probably be quite satisfied with the two DVD set. The Special Edition Boxed Set also comes with the film's original soundtrack. The marvelous score by Thomas Newman doesn't have an isolated channel (my one complaint about this DVD)on the DVD so fans of the film who also like the beautifully written but restrained music by Newman will probably want this as well. Other than these two items (and a nice box) there's no difference between the two movies.
Is this a great movie? It's a well made epic film that chronicles the redemption of two very different men that end up by circumstance becoming friends. Sure, it deals in some cliches but then so do all movies. It's used as short hand. What matters is that Darabont, like King, turns some of these cliches inside out for many of these characters. This isn't a film for those expecting the latest "Jason" movie but one that demands patience as it builds the characters over time. In many respects, "The Shawshank Redemption" reminds me of Frank Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life"; it's about missed opportunities and a second chance to try and live life to the fullest again.
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfection...,
This review is from: Shawshank Redemption [VHS] (VHS Tape)It's hard to imagine the film that exceeds this one in quality. If I were a member of the Academy, I would have voted this film Best Picture over "Forrest Gump" in 1994. The story is original, engrossing, and ranges from funny to tragic, as it takes us through the trials and tribulations of an innocent man sent to Shawshank Prison. The acting is superb and the film ends magnificently. A must buy for fans of excellent dramas.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply, the best movie I've ever seen,
This review is from: The Shawshank Redemption (Two-Disc Special Edition) (DVD)I saw the shawshank redmeption when I was around twelve. it was long, boring, and I didn't relate to it at all. Six years later I was at a local store feeling depressed after sevral bad things had happened in my life when I saw The Shawshank Redmeption tennth anivarsary DVD. My best friend has always said it was his favorite movie and I don't know why but I just decided to buy this thing. I went home and popped it in and two hours and twenty minutes later I was shocked that this movie had been around for ten years and I hadn't seen it in this way before.
The Shawshank redmeption is more about long term friendship then it is about a guy in a prison. Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman are fantastic as Andy Dufrane and Red. The film goes on for a good two hours without seeming dull and there's great character devlopment. The prison break scene has always stayed in my mind and the score to the film is magnificent and I haven't heard a better one to this date. The last twenty minutes or so of Red's life outside the prison is wonderful. there's no bad part of this movie in my opinion. This film went larlgy unnoticed and even though it was nominated for 7 academy awards it won none. I strongly suggest that if you haven't seen this movie, please see it. It has a history of getting people through tough times (It got me through some troubling times) but even when you're not down it's a wonderful film and I can't honestly say I've seen a better movie.
Ok, that was the film itself, but this is the ten year edition. I must say that the special's are not anything to get excited about. There's two documentaries. One on the themes and why so many people love this movie after it went to home video, and another on the acutal making of the film. There's a director's commentary on the film in which Frank gives us very good insight to the film, and there's a parody movie "The Shark Tank redemption" starring Morgan Freeman's son (Who also made a cameo in Shawshank redemption) and the interview between Charlie Rose, Frank, Morgan Freeman, and Tim Robbins. You'd think there would be more for ten years, but there isn't. Really, you're getting this film for the movie but if you already have the film it's probably best to just stick to that although the two documentaries are nice, it's probably not worth the money.
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The Shawshank Redemption (Single-Disc Edition) by Tim Robbins (DVD - 2007)