The Shawshank Redemption: A Movie Review

“Get busy living, or get busy dying.”

Title:  The Shawshank Redemption
Director:  Frank Darabont
Release Date:  December 23, 1994
Rating:  R
Genre:  Crime, Drama
My Rating:1 star2 star3 star4 star5 star

I watched The Shawshank Redemption with full knowledge that this movie is rated number one on IMDB, as well as various other movie rating sites. I was also aware that this was quite possibly going to be the third movie in a row that I have rated five stars.  I was not going to watch it for this reason.  However, I was “conned” into watching it by my boyfriend who insisted that I would absolutely love this movie.

The Shawshank Redemption, according to IMDB is about “two imprisoned men [who] bond over a number of years, finding solace and eventual redemption through acts of common decency.”

The movie stars Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman.

Some background about me:  Last year, I was part of the Criminology club at the University I attend.  We visited maximum security prisons all over the country … but mostly here in Illinois.  Last year, I walked through the cold halls of Stateville Prison, as well as a women’s maximum security prison in Dwight, IL.  Both left me feeling a little ‘weird’ and ‘unsafe’ the rest of the day.  Mostly because the people that I met in these prisons all looked like your average person walking down the street.  There was no distinguishing these men and women as felons, that is, of course, for the different colored jumpsuits that they wore.  The irony of all of this is … even though I was surrounded by prisoners, it was one of the times in my life where I was actually the most safe.  There were security guards all over the place.  Literally nearly every direction I turned there was someone watching over the prisoners.

Now I’m not claiming to be a prison expert.  I’ve only been in a prison on three different occasions.

With that being said, The Shawshank Redemption was not as realistic as it could have been.  However, I realize that for the purposes of Hollywood, you sometimes need to stray away from what is real.  Real is boring.  People don’t like watching what is real.  I feel that this movie had the potential to give the brave people who work in prisons a bad name.  While yes, I’m sure that there are some horrible people out there in this field of work.  People who abuse their rights as well as the prisoners day in and day out.  I’m sure that there are prisoners out there who fear the people who are there to keep them safe and everything under control.  I’m sure.

And that is my only complaint about the movie.

The rest of the movie was fantastic!  The storyline was adapted from a Stephen King novel titled, ‘Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption.’  I have not read this book, but it appears to be a very well-written novel, after looking at a snippet of the book.  Of course, this is Stephen King.  He rarely disappoints.

The movie is about friendship, freedom, loneliness, hope, and of course, redemption.

While most films about prisoners focus on alienation and the miserable lives they live, The Shawshank Redemption gives the viewers a glimpse at the brighter side of prison.  As I read on, “It  projects prison walls inside a human mind and shows how slavery and liberation, enslavement and redemption lies within.”

Remember that weird and unsafe feeling I told you about that I get after I visit prisons?  I can easily compare that feeling to how I felt after watching this movie.  It really takes you inside the prison walls and you can see how the characters in this prison live.

I recommend The Shawshank Redemption to anyone and everyone.

Movie Challenge:  3 down, 7 more movies to go!

SIDE NOTE:  I have got to stop choosing movies from the top rated movies lists.  I need some so-so movie recommendations.  If you know of any, let me know.  I’ll watch them!