Recently, I showed ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ to my mother. Around the part where Brooks gets on parole, I observed her face. Tears glimmered on her face due to the light reflecting from the screen. A critic rightfully said, ‘If you don’t like The Shawshank Redemption, you are beyond redemption.’
The Shawshank Redemption is an enthralling experience each time I watch it. The feeling of nostalgia rushes through me every time I re-watch it. Every time you watch The Shawshank Redemption, it feels as if you are watching a movie made just for you. The structure of The Shawshank Redemption has a striking resemblance to the structure of my supposedly all time favourite movie, Schindler’s List. It is a great movie, which begins lost, supposedly having no definite idea where to go, then it treads forwards in definite episodes, just like a mathematical sum in which many proofs lead to the final definite proof. These episodes eventually lead to the climax, joining all the plot points and leave you dumb-struck. While the episodes of Schindler’s List were the horrors of Holocaust connected to the change in the character of the protagonist Oskar Schindler, the episodes of The Shawshank Redemption, those simple acts of everyday kindness eventually culminate into the redemption of Andy Dufresne and Red.
This Frank Darabont helmed classic is about Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) who is imprisoned for the murder of his wife and lover which he never did. Andy is sent to the Shawshank prison, where he meets Red (Morgan Freeman), and together they embark on a journey to redemption through acts of everyday kindness.
The Shawshank Redemption gains its authenticity from the fact that the friendship between Andy and Red doesn’t develop into this unbreakable bond within a few weeks, months or days. It develops within nineteen years of hell, where the company of human beings is the only way of solace. There hasn’t been a movie which has dissected the nature of human emotions as severely and stark really as The Shawshank Redemption in the history of cine world.
The Godfather also bears a slight resemblance to The Shawshank Redemption. In The Godfather, the film-maker Francis Ford Coppola distinguishes the good and bad from the bad. Similarly in The Shawshank Redemption, we distinguish those one-timers from the psycopaths among criminals, and there stands the sole importance of our protagonist Andy Dufresne, he isn’t among them, he is innocent.
The Shawshank Redemption always leaves me crying, especially the Brooks sequence, where it is unnatural for an individual not to get emotional. Frank Darabont is a master director, one of my favourites, if I convey frankly. He debuted with The Shawshank Redemption, being helmed by audiences world-wide as the greatest movie ever made, then directed The Green Mile, on of the most engrossing and breath-taking movies ever made, and then moved to the small screen, and created ‘The Walking Dead’ one of the greatest and horrifying sitcoms ever made. He adds in a touch of magic in each of his movies which I find is the true essence of cinema.
Morgan Freeman delivers the highlight of his career with this performance. There is a certain innocence in his face, a smile whose charm is unfathomable, a loveable persona, an aura, a panache that is irresistible. I love this character. Tim Robbins give an extraordinary controlled performance, saying so much while doing so little.
The cinematography is awesome. Man, it is Roger Deakins at the party, so the direction of photography is undoubtedly going to be fucking awesome. The score is composed by Thomas Newman, one of the greatest composers of all time, and one of my own personal favourites, because of the sombre and elegant and emotionally prevalent form of music, which even Hans Zimmer or John Williams can’t achieve. Newman composes a score that just is, what is the word, I would say ’emotionally-imposing’, like it just guffaws you into those cellars.
The movie itself is a story of loneliness and obviously, redemption, like the name suggest but more of a portrait of existential angst. That is another factor which distinguishes Andy, others at Shawshank gradually become institutionalized and accept those walls made of stone, Andy, in for a crime he never conducted symbolises a glimmer of hope which never stops shining.
The Shawshank Redemption is an extraordinary movie about existential angst, loneliness, redemption, friendship and lot more, but what it is, is an experience no viewer can ever forget and rightfully adorns the second place on my list of the ‘Greatest Movies Of All Time’.
Rating : 9.9 / 10
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