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The Shawshank Redemption (DVD) Review
Nominated for seven Academy Awards including Best Picture, The Shawshank Redemption amazingly failed to win a single Oscar. It’s amazing because it’s probably one of the top ten best films ever produced. Based on Stephen King’s short story ‘Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption,’ the film transcends the typical intellectually and spiritually bankrupt Hollywood entertainment of the modern era with an onscreen artistry that is the closest we’ll probably ever see to poetry in moving pictures. With masterful performances by Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins, audience members will find themselves engrossed in a tragic story wrought with suspense at every turn.
The Shawshank Redemption focuses on the life of Andy Dufresne (Robbins), a prominent banker convicted of murdering his wife and her lover. Sent to Shawshank prison in the summer of 1947, the inmates bet on which of the new arrivals will be the first to crack. Ellis “Red” Redding (Freeman), an institutional fixture and the man who can provide anything for a price, puts his money on Andy. But much to his surprise, Andy doesn’t make a sound.
Over time, Andy and Red develop a close friendship, and Red procures a small rock hammer for Andy. As the years go by, he procures other items as well, the most interesting being Rita Hayworth. Red acquires a poster of the screen siren for Andy, and business continues as usual in Shawshank. Along the way, Andy ingratiates himself with the notorious prison guard Byron Hadley (Clancy Brown) and Warden Samuel Norton (Bob Gunton). Putting his outside skills to good use, Andy provides tax advice and tax preparation services to guards not just at Shawshank, but other prisons as well.
Eventually, in exchange for a comprehensive prison library, he ends up running a massive money laundering operation for Norton leveraging prison labor in exchange for lucrative kickbacks. But all goes awry when Shawshank’s newest prisoner, a young punk named Tommy (Gil Bellows) comes forward with shocking information. Andy, who’s spent twenty years in Shawshank prison, might be innocent after all… The revelation ruins lives and destroys Andy’s prison sanctuary, but it’s Warden Norton and his associates who are ruined when the beautiful pin-up Raquel Welch reveals her hidden secret.
Directed by Frank Darabont, producer of such hit films as The Green Mile (1999) and The Majestic (2001), The Shawshank Redemption is a film of absolute breathtaking perfection that ranks near the top of most lists of the best films ever produced. Thomas Newman’s musical score, reused in countless films in the years since its release, blends together with brilliant casting, memorable screen performance, and masterful set design to create an unmatched and timeless epic. If you haven’t seen The Shawshank Redemption, you aren’t just missing out on a great film, but a great life experience as well. Do yourself a favor and see this movie.
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