WolfmanOz at the Movies #68


Hope is a good thing

Was what prisoner Andy Dufresne says to his fellow prisoner and close friend Ellis “Red” Redding in the superlative prison drama film The Shawshank Redemption.

Released in 1994, the film was a box-office disappointment and despite being nominated for a swag of awards it wasn’t until its release on VHS that the film found its mass audience where it has become one of the most beloved films of the last 30 years. Ironically then, most people have not seen it in a movie theatre. I know I haven’t as I missed it and like so many I viewed it first on home media and it has remained a favourite of mine ever since.

Based on the Stephen King novella Rita Hayworth And Shawshank Redemption the film tells the story of banker Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), who is sentenced to life imprisonment in Shawshank State Penitentiary for the murders of his wife and her lover, despite his claims of innocence. Over the following two decades, he befriends a fellow prisoner, contraband smuggler Ellis “Red” Redding (Morgan Freeman), and becomes instrumental in a money laundering scheme led by the prison warden.

The film is narrated by Morgan Freeman’s character where he gives a commanding performance which makes him a much stronger figure than simply an observer. Freeman’s performance is especially moving when describing how dependent Red had become on living within the prison walls. It’s a great performance.

The discovery by Andy of The Marriage Of Figaro record is described in the screenplay as akin to finding the Holy Grail, bringing the prisoners to a halt, and causing the sick to rise up in their beds; and as a piece of cinema it is simply sublime.

The significant and enduring public appreciation for the film has often been difficult for critics to define. I certainly can think of no other film that has captured the growing and deep friendship of two people as this film does whilst being an uplifting, deeply satisfying prison drama with sensitive direction by debutant Frank Darabont plus uniformly fine performances by the entire cast.

The film’s ending with the two re-uniting on the beach in Zihuatanejo is a perfect coda as the concept of Zihuatanejo resonates with the audience because it represents a form of escape that can be achieved after surviving for many years within whatever “jail” someone finds themselves in.

Enjoy.

and the tease for next weeks post . . . Good or bad, handsome or ugly, rich or poor they are all equal now.


15 responses to “WolfmanOz at the Movies #68”

  1. sfw Avatar

    Great film, only thing that ruined it for me was that final scene. No one would work on or restore a boat on a surf beach, way too rough and tidal. Only in an emergency would anyone do that.

  2. calli Avatar
    calli

    I enjoyed this one, Wolfman, but not as much as the two men in my family who loved it. Not sure why. Perhaps it was the unlikely “happy ending” after so much injustice and cruelty. Then again, that’s probably the simple magic that attracted them.

    An interesting sub-plot was the difficulty in adjusting to non-institutionalised life, and the tragic character who takes his life rather than live outside the prison walls.

  3. Old School Conservative Avatar
    Old School Conservative

    Too many good scenes and plot twists to describe properly, its a movie that just has to be watched and for the film goer to let the whole gamut of emotions wash over them.
    Which leads to the film’s overarching question – would you swim through shit to escape hell on earth?

  4. calli Avatar
    calli

    OSC, the real question…how much did Rita know and when did she know it? 🙂

  5. caveman Avatar
    caveman

    A good entertaining film. Romantic idea now a newspaper acting on corruption evidence being mailed to them. Imagine if Andy mailed back Hunter Biden’s Laptop, I guess Andy would still be in prison.

  6. Alamak! Avatar
    Alamak!

    Fantastic movie that resonates strongly in these times with concepts of loyalty, enduring hardship, persistence and dreaming big even in hopeless times.

    Nothing sounds better than the Mozart aria played to the whole prison, best version being that sung by Kiri te Kanawa imho.

  7. duncanm Avatar
    duncanm

    Great choice Wolfman

    callisays:
    April 27, 2023 at 8:24 am
    I enjoyed this one, Wolfman, but not as much as the two men in my family who loved it. Not sure why.

    Calli – I suspect because the whole movie involves male bonding and mutual respect through deeds rather than words.

    The back stories like Andy helping out the guards with their taxes or teaching Tommy to read.
    The tragic story of Brooks who can’t integrate back into society – Red is well on the way to the same fate, but is ultimately saved by Andy’s actions in the end.

    Then there’s the theme of entire lives wasted due to single moments of insanity or loss of judgement
    “Get busy living, or get busy dying” mirrors many men’s thoughts as they trundle through their mid-life.

    Looking back – Andy is almost a Christ-like character.

  8. Louis Litt Avatar

    Yep – great boys movie. The subplots of being institutionalised .
    The prisoners doing the manual jobs that no one else would do and the friendships that developed from there.
    Never give in as you will get there.

  9. Louis Litt Avatar

    Yep – great boys movie. The subplots of being institutionalised .
    The prisoners doing the manual jobs that no one else would do and the friendships that developed from there.
    Never give in as you will get there.

  10. Fair Shake Avatar
    Fair Shake

    sfwsays:
    April 27, 2023 at 8:02 am

    Ditto, great film. ….But the choice of boat at the end irks me every-time. There is no way that heap of junk is ever going to get going…and sanding by hand OMG. Andy boating just aint your thing. Back to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200.

    The movie remains a case study in marketing failure. Poor title and poor promotion. Great film.

  11. Fair Shake Avatar
    Fair Shake

    – would you swim through shit to escape hell on earth?

    Well I still live in Melbourne after the worlds greatest lock-down….so no. The jailhouse food is not so bad and you get used to the beds.

  12. Louis Litt Avatar

    One point to raise with “gangster films” is that brains beats braun every time – this movie, breaking bad, to a lesser extent American History.
    Everyone one has a shameful experince inflicted on them – how you deal with it and keep on going.

  13. duncanm Avatar
    duncanm

    Louis – Road to Perdition is another great gangster film along those lines.

  14. WolfmanOz Avatar
    WolfmanOz

    duncanm says:
    April 27, 2023 at 12:39 pm

    Top comment – eloquently said.

    Just got back from a long day soccer refereeing (5 games for a multi school soccer carnival). To put it bluntly . . . I’m knackered !

  15. Louis Litt Avatar
    Louis Litt

    Thanks Duncan.
    Good on you for the soccer, I hope the parents were’nt too bad

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Bruce in WA Feb 21, 2024 4:07 PM Personal Boycotts current scoreboard • McCain … Chinese veggies via NZ marked…

  2. VIC dairy farmer on ABC country hour calls bull on the quality of Victoria’s grid. He said ten years ago…

  3. A great truth now perverted by trannies, she-males, toyboys, effeminates, knee tremblers, chest feeders, purple haired arse wobblers, penis shovelers…

  4. Delta, what a delightful family affair, thank you for telling us about it. Re the P & P story, I’m…

  5. “MARXISM 2024 – The Death Throes of Capitalism. Symposium in Merewether Building” poster. Horribly realistic. I loathe Sydney Uni. I…