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Customer Review

319 of 350 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Although not a special edition, still a fine DVD, December 22, 1999
This review is from: The Shawshank Redemption (DVD)
The Movie:
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.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 25, 2009 1:54:50 PM PDT
BT says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 6, 2010 4:49:30 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 6, 2010 4:52:31 AM PST
Lone Wolf says:
He didn't mention the blu-ray quality because he wrote his review in 1999 which was several years before blu-ray even came out. Also be aware that Amazon uses standard dvd reviews on blu-ray listings of the same title.
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