Friday, September 17, 2010

Ryan Watches A Motion Picture #58: The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

I should be doing comedy, Morgan.

Shawshank is one of those movies I swore by as a younger lad. I had found it moving, captivating and, especially, inspiring. I shouldn't have re-watched it.

I'm sure it's a film you've all seen already. While it's not a bad film, since it certainly has its inspiring moments and lines of dialogue that stick to my brain and peel out in times of emotional trouble, it is at its heart an overly romantic film. It's sappy. It's real sappy. To the point where I couldn't help but feel like the not-so-nice elements in the film were being medicated, because when something bad happens you're given comfort soon after. Despite the subject matter, it's an easy film; it leads you along by the hand and doesn't rattle you too much. When it does, it tells you its sorry and promises that things will be fine by the end. And they pretty much are.

The performances are good, but Tim Robbins is just Tim Robbins. The score is swelling and with the camera, drifting in operatic Frank Darabont style, tells you exactly when something grand and important is being said. There's little room for subtlety or mistake. I don't think a film should be without risk of mistake. It should never be so precise as to leave you without room.

So: A medicating, specifically bromantic comfort movie for those in need of life-change. I could just tell you: Get busy living or get busy dying.

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