WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS
When director Frank Darabont meets Stephen King, magic always happens.
Unfortunately, this just happened twice: for 1994's The Shawshank Redemption and for 1999's The Green Mile.
Few of the works coming from Stephen King happened to find a decent transposition to the silver screen, but when the adaptation was in Frank Darabont hands, you could expect a new masterpiece to be born.
The Shawshank Redemption, both a typical and unique prison movie, shines from the sad beginning to the triumphal ending.
Andy Dufresne, the character played by Tim Robbins, is one of those movie characters that will stay with you for a long time, after the first time you meet him on the screen.
Tim Robbins' acting, here, is simply perfect, at the same time understated and over the edge.
Red, Morgan Freeman's character, is also unforgettable (I personally believe that this is his best performance to date, together with his portrayal of Detective Somerset in David Fincher's Se7en).
However, what probably makes the movie so great are its story and dialogues (voice-overs included).
Andy's arrival at Shawshank, his first troubled times, his new friends and enemies, his continue refusal to be "institutionalized", to use one of the keywords of the movie and its plot, until the final, epic escape, all diluted in decades, is indeed one of the best stories ever told (and brought to the silver screen).
Then, you have the location: Shawshank, the fictional Maine prison of many of Stephen King's books, is one of the leading character itself, adding precious elements of atmosphere and drama to the entire film.
Many big and small jewels can be found throughout the all movie: I believe that at least one must be remembered in this review: the music scene.
This is absolutely not a movie about music, but every time I have to explain what power the music can have on men and human nature, I always make reference to the Shawshank Redemption's scene when Andy is able to switch on the prison speakers and let some classical music (Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro) circulate and reach all the prisoners' ears.
Then, we hear Red's Voice Over: "I have no idea to this day what them two Italian ladies were singin' about. Truth is, I don't want to know. Some things are best left unsaid. I like to think they were singin' about something so beautiful it can't be expressed in words, and makes your heart ache because of it. I tell you, those voices soared. Higher and farther than anybody in a gray place dares to dream. It was like some beautiful bird flapped into our drab little cage and made these walls dissolve away... And for the briefest of moments, every last man at Shawshank felt free".
To me, scenes and concepts like these are the reason why movies, sometimes, reach perfection, and that is why I love them so much.
JakeBlues was here