72. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Two imprisoned men bond over a number of years, finding solace and eventual redemption through acts of common decency.

There are very few movies that I consider perfect. This, my friends, is one of them. From the writing, to the acting, to the music, to the cinematography, it’s all just perfect.

The writing, I think, is this films strongest asset. Right from the beginning of the film, you’re hooked. Taken from the original novella written by Stephen King, Frank Darabont did one hell of a job adapting it. The strong writing only helps the performances in the movie, having such rich material to work from. Tim Robbins, who plays Andy Dufresne, and Morgan Freeman, who plays Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding, give tremendous performances. You forget that you are watching two actors interpreting characters. They become those characters. All of the actors do. It’s phenomenal.

Thomas Newman’s score for this film is, I think, one of his best. It very quietly sits beneath scenes. It’s not intrusive, and yet it’s memorable. It adds to any scene that it is laid underneath in the most magnificent way.

The Shawshank Redemption has, in my opinion, one of the most satisfying endings in film, period. Not only does Andy Dufresne escape Shawshank (with one of the best cinematic build ups, if I may be so bold to say), but he takes down the Warden with him. It’s incredible. Red finally gets parole, and ends up in the same room Brooks was in (side note: in regards to Brooks, I cry every time. And I’m not talking about “oh a couple tears here and there”. I’m talking full on sobbing. It just gets me.) And Red ends up in Mexico with Andy. It’s a happy ending that you’re not really expecting upon the first watch of the film. You expect something to go wrong. You expect Red to say that Andy never made it to Mexico, or you expect Red to get caught violating parole. But, none of that happens. And, that’s one of the things that makes this film so wonderful: it is a happy ending. No tricks.

There’s a lot of religious subtext throughout the film, however, that is not something that I want to delve into at this point in time, as I’m afraid how long it will take me to come back from that rabbit hole. So, for another time, I suppose.

I have seen this film multiple times, and still have yet to find a single thing wrong with it. Not one shot out of place, not one weak actor, not one bad line (tons of tremendous ones, though). It’s all perfect.

What do you think of the film? Do you think it’s over hyped? Or do you love it just as much as I do?

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