Monday, January 31, 2011

Can You Believe That I Haven't Seen...The Shawshank Redemption

This year I’ve decided to try a new feature. If you’re a movie lover like me, you often find yourself bombarded with more movies than you could ever watch. Try as I might, some films slip through the cracks. It can be embarrassing to admit not seeing some iconic or blockbuster film. I thought it might be a good idea if I attempted to rectify this matter. Once a month, I will watch and review one film that I feel I should have seen by now. I hope I encourage you to finally watch some of the films you always wanted to get around to.

For January, I watched the 1994 film, The Shawshank Redemption. Why have I never watched this film? Well, I often keep myself from watching films that are adapted from novels. Shawshank was adapted from a short story by Stephen King, one of my favorite authors. I don’t have a lot of free time and I know if I see the movie, it’s unlikely I’ll ever read the book. Plus, if you’re a fan of Mr. King, you’ll know one of his short stories is the length of most regular novels.

If you’re one of the few, like me, that still have not seen this film, I’ll give a brief rundown. A prison drama that begins in the 1940’s, Tim Robbins plays Andy Dufrense, an unassuming banker convicted of killing his wife and her lover. Andy claims he did not commit the murder, but it’s a pretty airtight case. He arrives at Shawshank Prison to serve two consecutive life sentences. Although he mostly keeps to himself, he slowly befriends Red, played by Morgan Freeman. Red is up for parole every decade and is always rejected. He doesn’t mind too much because he can no longer imagine life on the outside. Red is “the man who can get things” and this makes him an important inmate at Shawshank and also a good friend to have.

Although this is adapted from a Stephen King story, there’s no horror or unbelievable things occurring in this film. On the contrary, it’s quite grounded in reality and doesn’t paint an unrealistic portrait of how difficult prison life is.

I enjoyed the first half of the film and found the characters endearing. However, I was feeling like I didn’t know what all the fuss was about. Then Tommy came to the prison. Once he came on, I was drawn in so deeply there was no going back. It took me a while to place the actor Gil Bellows, but I finally remembered he was in Ally McBeal. Suddenly, this slow meandering film picked up steam. Things started to happen, questions were answered, plans were put into place and I began to cry.

I had the waterworks going pretty good for the last half of this film. The slow paced first half paid off in that I found myself caring very deeply for the main and secondary characters. They had been locked up for a long time and I too spent a lot of time with them.

This has to be one of the most satisfying films I’ve seen. If you put in the time, you’ll be rewarded with big payoffs. I can’t imagine anyone not being satisfied with ever plot point laid out in this film. So basically, I’m very happy with my first choice. I definitely feel like, “Man what took me so long to see this movie?”

Next up for February…The Godfather. Yeah, I’ve never seen The Godfather!



What!!! What took you so long mama? lol I almost passed out when I saw you haven't seen the godfather either! lol

Colleen said...

I have a very good reason why I've never seen The Godfather. I'll explain it all soon I promise! Thanks for always checking in with me Thundercat!

Lisa said...

I love that movie! I'm like you, I usually don't like movies that have been adapted from novels, but this one's an exception for sure!

filmgeek said...

If it wasn't for studying film, I may not have seen the likes of Nosferatu, Citizen Kane and Psycho.

I haven't seen The Godfather yet either :/

Lin said...

I've always thought this was a great movie! I never knew it was a short story either, guess you do learn something new every day, haha.

Cant wait for your review of The Godfather, I've never seen it either :)

Colleen said...

See how strange I am. I have not studied film and I've seen Psycho, Citizen Kane AND Nosferatu!

Mercy said...

Shawshank Redemption is one of my all time favourites. Its one of the only movies that lives up to the written story.