Entertainment. This word is often associated with movies. Uplifting. That’s a word you don’t usually associate with a movie. And it’s not often you associate that word with prison movies, either. But 'The Shawshank Redemption' is a different kind of movie in a lot of ways. A lot of great ways. Whenever, I think about 'The Shawshank Redemption' I think about hope. It's a dark tale to be sure; of a wrongly convicted man, some nasty prison guards, an even nastier warden, institutionalization, prison rape. At its core, however, this is a story of friendship. And the one between Red and Andy is one of the great friendships in movie history.
This is not a review. It's just a analysis, about the greatness of Shawshank Redemption. But, why Shawshank Redemption is considered to be the greatest movie. It even has a top spot in the Imdb top 250 list, and also remains as the best movie in many critics list. So, what makes something the best? How do you define ‘best’? Do you as describe 'best' as it is your favorite thing. Or does ‘best’ simply mean an acknowledgment of status by the greatest amount of people?
The Imdb top 250 list is mostly based upon the votes of a young movie-goer. Movies like 'Dark Knight was placed above 'Godfather II' initially at the time of dark knight's release. So, keeping aside these great lists, and critics opinion. let's see what makes 'Shawshank Redemption' great.
The Shawshank Redemption is a story carefully constructed around its dramatic purpose. The full effect of this is demonstrated by the fact that nothing can be removed from this story without changing it in some way. In loosely, badly written or constructed stories, one can make wholesale changes in everything and not really affect the outcome of the story and the destination of its plot. Here, everything is finely detailed around its purpose, everything works to achieve an effect, to deepen the impact of the story. The movie starts formally and specifically, and you think you know where it's all going, but it surprises you, the way the story unfolds.
We all find darkness in our life. In the movie, years pass by, characters come and go, but there is always darkness, which looms over the characters. Humor and light-heartedness exist, but everyone inside their rooms, are feeling the loneliness. A loneliness, which is eating their lives. Yes, there are a lot of bad men in Shawshank prison, but within those grim walls and the corroding corridors there is no more evil a villain than that of despair.
Institutionalization. This is another important theme beautifully explored in this movie, with the help of 'Brooks' character. You could take the entire premise of a prison theme as a metaphor. Most of us, obey the institution then depend on it, scared to change our life-style. The human society is developing in institutionalized environment. However, we can choose redemption if we want. As Andy’s choosing, nothing can prevent our right to choose redemption even it’s so huge like the Shawshank prison.
Shawshank is quiet, slow-paced, filmed well but without post-modern flourishes. It strives for (and achieves) a very naturalistic feel using many techniques, from the extremely well-made prison set to the low-key acting, invisible lighting and editing, and a tendency to cover scenes in wider shots than normal. The film is structured in sequences, not scenes, creating a series of "short stories" during Andy's stay in prison.
In a harsh and corrupt system, it is good to see a character reaffirm his hope and regain his sense of self-determination. The Shawshank Redemption also works because it has an intelligence to it. It doesn't explain every little thing to the viewer which means that as we watch it stimulates the brain and enters your consciousness. As a consequence it becomes more of an experience than a movie. When I think of this movie, I'm reminded of how classical storytelling and working with archetypes can be just as vibrant and powerful as revolutionary techniques or realistic, understated portrayals. I'm reminded of the level most movies should aspire to; that success can be defined by building around story and character.
The movie shows friendship between two men that isn't based in crude jokes or chasing girls. Shawshank Redemption is also blessed with Morgan Freeman's narration, and Tim Robbins acting; his measured silences, and subtle facial expressions.
This is also a story that earns its impact, that doesn't cheapen itself by offering an easy, feel-good path to redemption. Here, redemption is carved out of the stone walls of the prison, just as in life people must struggle to find and give meaning to their lives. Through internalizing the journey promised by this story, its viewers can experience that even the darkest abyss can be survived. That sometimes it's through surviving the abyss that we grow and discover who we really are.
Shawshank Redemption is not a movie about hope. It is 'Hope.'
The Shawhsank Redemption - Imdb