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The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Director:
Frank Darabont
COUNTRY
USA
Genre
Drama
NORWEGIAN TITLE
Frihetens regn
RUNNING TIME
142 minutes
Producer:
Niki Marvin
Screenwriter:
Frank Darabont
Based on a short story by:
Stephen King


Cast includes:

CHARACTER ACTOR RATING
Andy Dufresne Tim Robbins
Ellis Boyd "Red" Redding Morgan Freeman
Warden Norton Bob Gunton
Heywood William Sadler
Captain Hadley Clancy Brown
Tommy Gil Bellows
Bogs Diamond Mark Rolston
Brooks Halten James Whitmore

 

Review

Not your archtypical Stephen King story, The Shawshank Redemption represents one of a handful of stories where the 'king of horror' leaves the supernatural behind. This means more space for his clever narrative, sense of scenery, in-depth knowledge of settings, and - above all - characters.

Because there are few authors who write better characters than King. And in Shawshank this comes to prominence better than ever. There's a simplicity to our protagonists, Red and Andy Dufresne, but it's a not a banal simplicity. King's characters combined with the warm and dedicated acting from Freeman and Robbins make these figures identifiable and familiar. And director Frank Darabont examines what goes on behind the four walls of a prison in a universal and timeless tone. Without being deeply implicit, Shawshank manages to parallel a wide range of emotions, situations and relations through the backdrop of captivity.

The Shawshank Redemption is sentimental and uncomplicated, but also clever, nuanced and extremely well-progressed. Narratively, stories can hardly be told better. The film was one of the best paced and most releasing films of the decade, and it elevated both Darabont, King and the two leads into the major league of film. Shawshank received seven Academy Award nominations, but no statuettes, in what I like to call the golden year of modern cinema.

Re-reviewed: Copyright 7.3.2006 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang
Original review: 29.1.1997 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang

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