To write a review of a movie almost 2 decades after its release would surely appear the most idiotic thing to do. But since we live in an age when most things are idiotic, I guess it is just normal for me to write this review. Well, it takes some courage to review a movie like Shawshank Redemption, and for a fool like me, it takes time. I watched this movie for the first time about a couple of month ago, and I am fortunate that though late, I did. Shawshank Redemption is one of those movies that inspires writers and poets to write, singers to sing and musicians to play. It is almost a force of nature. When I watched it, I was bewildered in amazement by this classic masterpiece. This could well be the pinnacle of not only film-making, but of every form of representational art!
The film starts with banker Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) being sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering his wife. He is sent to the Shawshank State Prison. He meets “Red” (Morgan Freeman) and the two develop friendship. “Years I got”, mutters Dufresne, an amateur geologist, when Red states that it will take years to make chessmen out of rocks. But something as simple as this is captured with such mastery that I cannot recall any scene in this movie can be termed “ordinary.” The dialogues are delivered so well that I feel it must be one of the reasons this movie is often praised for its realism. Nothing over the top or falling short, but spot-on for every situation. As the relationship between Dufresne and Red further develops, you are treated with the most exceptional acting Morgan Freeman has ever managed to pull off. Like a wizard, he casts a spell into every frame. Tim Robbins acted his heart out, too, but I was forced to believe that he lacked depth on certain occasions. May be it was intentional, because prison life definitely starts to show on his face.
The story and screenplay is captivating, to say the least. Every single scene… and I mean it… Every single scene is a gem! The director and actors fill it with life, more so because you get to ‘feel’ each scene. It is one of the few films you will watch where you are treated with another excellent event, even before you can feel the effect of the previous one fade off. But you won’t complain. I did not. No one would. The movie houses several themes, most notably patience, perseverance, freedom, and hope. As you might have noticed, all of these are positive emotions. The positivity of the movie makes you believe in your own life’s gifts. When you are done watching this chef-d’oeuvre, the feeling still lingers. You end up happier than you were when you started. And this is where the movie, its each character, each performance, each scene, and each emotion, really triumphs!