Special thanks to Mike for requesting this movie! I especially appreciate that it wasn’t a French film.
Quick recap: Andy Dufresne, former banker, is now a prisoner serving a life sentence for the murder of his wife and lover. Although he has been wrongly convicted, all is not lost as Dufresne now has plenty of time to devote to his hobby of rock carving.
Fun (?) fact: Normally I don’t find trivia about actors who were considered for a role to be very interesting. However, I could practically hear the Sad Trombone of Regret when reading that Kevin Costner turned down the role of Dufresne to star in ‘Waterworld’.
My thoughts: I chose Shawshank Redemption as my hundredth movie because I feel it to be one of my biggest pop culture holes. Considering it is currently ranked as the #1 movie to see according to IMDb, I decided to go ahead and watch it. One thing you should know about me is that the more something is recommended to me, especially with a plea like, ‘you will love it!’, I most likely will not. I prefer to find things I love on my own and there’s just something about loving something that everyone else does that makes it less special. Totally doesn’t make me a hipster, though. (Side note: The Lumineers and Mumford and Sons are dead to me.)
All that to say that as much as I tried to find fault in this movie, I couldn’t find one. And I tried really, really hard. I had a whole set up written about how schmaltzy and too convenient the ending is, but after thinking about it, I don’t know if I would’ve enjoyed something darker. It did bother me how quickly the entire prison warmed up to Andy but then again, this is Stephen King we are talking about. That’s kind of his thing: good vs. evil in the most simplest of terms. Andy is Good, supernaturally Good. His one character flaw of helping the Warden funnel money into secret accounts is actually another example of Goodness. And the Warden is evil and so must be destroyed by the power of Good. So in terms of how a King story is supposed to turn out, this one is spot on.
The acting is flawless, the scenery beautiful and tragic, and the plot runs at a perfect pace. As for what I took from the film- not much. The theme that hope keeps us alive in the most dire of circumstances is not a new one and Shawshank Redemption, although flawless in many ways, doesn’t completely sell the idea to me. Andy had hope for getting out but he was also really smart and in the end, saved himself. It wasn’t hope so much as a detailed plan. And as for his friend Red, he had hope that eventually got him out of prison but what really saved him in the end was a good friend.
I was sucked into Shawshank Redemption from the very beginning. I’m definitely glad I chose it for #100 because it was a great reminder why I’m doing this project in the first place.
Final Review: 5/5.
Up next: A very special announcement and a recap of what I’ve watched so far