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     Volume 1 Issue 12 | October 22, 2006 |


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Movie Review

The Shawshank Redemption

Nazia Ahmed

I am not a very big fan of dramas, but the other day my friend insisted on watching this movie saying " It's a story that will touch you in some way or the other!" so I came home and put it on. And after I was done watching it, I couldn't help but sit for a long while and contemplate about the astounding ways I have been touched by these men and their lives in Shawshank Prison. The Shawshank Redemption is the sort of movie that sneaks up on you. For most of its 142 minutes, you watch unpleasant things happen to a man who clearly doesn't deserve it. Every time you're about to throw in the towel and conclude that this is all just too depressing, this fellow does something remarkable something that convinces you that he's going to find a way to survive. When the film's conclusion starts to unfold, you suddenly realize that this is one of the more inspiring films you've seen in a long time yet you don't feel the least bit manipulated. So here's the review I downloaded from the net. So go grab a bowl of popcorn and sit tight to watch a miracle happen!

The narrator of the story is long-time prisoner “Red” Redding (Morgan Freeman), a convict who goes through the motions of attending parole hearings, but knows that he's going to be in prison until he's old and doddering. Redding tells us about the 1947 arrival at Shawshank of Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), a young man who has just been convicted of murdering his wife and her lover. Andy claims that he's innocent, but he has rather quickly reconciled himself to life behind bars. He's a fascinating man. A former bank executive, he's smart and has talents uncommon among the prison population. Before long, the corrupt Warden Norton (Bob Gunton) figures out that Andy can be useful in cooking the prison books and hiding the warden's web of corruption. This gets Andy a privileged position and the ability to work toward goals such as construction of a prison library.
We get a good-sized dose of prison brutality, largely the work of the menacing head guard (Clancy Brown). Although Andy is protected from most of that, the warden doesn't hesitate to send him to solitary confinement for extended periods when he wanders from the straight and narrow. Andy's presence enriches and uplifts Shawshank, but we rarely get much reason to think that he'll be getting out soon. He matter-of-factly carries on, with the attitude that he must either have hope or die. Finally, something remarkable happens at Shawshank. It's surprising and inspiring to watch, but it's not implausible. We come away from the experience blindsided by Andy's inspirational example. Sure, he's just another prisoner, but he's also more than that.
There are aspects of The Shawshank Redemption that don't work well. The bad guys are just a bit too monotone bad, and prisoners' apparent complete lack of contact without the outside world is hard to believe. But many more aspects of the film work extremely well. Andy's convict friends are interesting and likeable, if crude. They give the film great depth. The acting performances are also very good. Robbins' low-key approach to playing Andy is perfect a much better performance than it at first seems. Freeman is wonderful as the wise but sad Redding.
Based on a short novel by Stephen King, The Shawshank Redemption might sneak up on you, but it will most certainly be memorable once it's done that.



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