On September 10, the best film of our time will be exactly 25 years since its release on the big screens. Paying attention to such a significant date, and not paying attention to 26 negative reviews on KinoPoisk (yes, not everyone likes Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5), we decided to write 7 main reasons why The Shawshank Redemption, invariably the first in the IMDb and KinoPoisk ratings, considered the best film on the planet. Go.
If Forrest Gump achieved universal love and recognition almost immediately after it was released on the big screens: it collected a large box office and a bunch of Oscars, then The Shawshank Redemption unscrupulously failed at the box office, and instead of the Oscar took the Bronze Frog for festival in Poland. And no, we don’t think Bronze Frog is bad. We believe that the best film about universal injustice suffered the same injustice that, you see, already deserves attention.
But why did it happen? Despite all the obvious pluses: strong acting, script and message, “The Shawshank Redemption” is a dark prison drama that was released in the same year as “Forrest Gump”, “Pulp Fiction”, “Leon”, “The Mask “And a bunch of other great films, which we went to the cinema. Add the equine timing (almost 2.5 hours) and the hard-to-pronounce name and you get everything that “Escape” received in 1994, that is, nothing.
Frank Darabont’s filmography can boast of another “prison” film based on the work of Stephen King, namely, “The Green Mile”. When shooting “Mist” the director joked that this was his first “non-prison film” based on King. Nevertheless, the Green Mile is still a long way off, and in 1987 young Darabont buys the rights to film The Escape from King. And if you are not familiar with the book’s primary source, then it is worth mentioning that “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Salvation” is a 96-page story that King himself considered “not filmed.” And for the most part, he was right. After all, what we see on the screen and what is written by King are definitely not the same thing.
Nevertheless, the final script of Darabont, which he wrote back in 1992, pleased everyone who had the opportunity to read it, including Stephen King himself.
Darobont considered it unnecessary to introduce several negative characters and combined them into one – the head of the prison, Samuel Norton. In addition, he decided to add a line with Brooks Hatlen, a prisoner who has not been able to adapt to a new life after 50 years in prison. Most likely, the presence of this character further emphasized the “power of redemption” of the hero Red, who spent a little over 40 years in prison, but did not repeat Brooks’ path after his release.
Despite all the changes, neither King nor Darabont’s original script had an ending with Andy and Red’s meeting with the ocean in the background. She was added at the request of Liz Glozer, the executive producer of the film. And of course, this is one of the best movie endings, not only because it’s almost a classic “happy end”, but also because it contrasts sharply with the rest of the movie (except for the scene on the roof and the scene with the turntable) – dark and almost chamber.
The almost biblical conflict between good and evil finds its reflection in the main conflict of The Escape. Illegally accused Andy Dufrein against tyrant and profit lover Samuel Norton. This confrontation, which began with a short dialogue upon arrival at the prison, will last for almost the entire film and end, as strange as it may sound, “unexpectedly expected.”
Best Plot Twist
We suspected that at the end of the existentialist protagonist Endu Dufrein, a man who, even in the face of madness and death, can maintain his health of mind (life imprisonment and two months in a punishment cell for confirmation of this) awaits some kind of triumph. Unlike the collective antagonist, the head of the prison Samuel Norton, according to all canons, he should be punished.
And so it happened. But only after more than 2 hours from the beginning of the film and after 20 years of serving time in the film itself. Escaping Andrew Dufrein with a tiny stone hammer seemed impossible. Nonetheless, this is one of the best plot twists in the history of cinema, not only because it is completely “expectedly unexpected”. But also because it is expected to be triumphant. By the way, in the original the title of the film will not spoil the denouement so much, therefore for an English-speaking viewer who has not read the story, this plot twist is simply unexpected.
The deliberately incorrect translation of the title of the picture – “escape” instead of “redemption”, “liberation” or “salvation” suggests that Andy Dufrein’s escape from prison is the key turn in the plot of the picture. As it was written above, this twist is definitely the best, but not the main one in the film itself.
If you like to notice explicit (or implicit) puns, then you know that the main character of The Shawshank Redemption is not Andy, but the prisoner Ellis Boyd “Red” Redding, – the best friend of Dufrein. Well, the word “Red” in the title “Shawshank Red emption” tells us that the film is about the redemption of Red himself, on whose behalf the main story is being told. He, unlike his friend, committed a crime and suffered a fair punishment for him, having been released from prison on early release.
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Why is The Shawshank Redemption the best? First, it is a film about injustice that has suffered injustice. Secondly, this film is the best example of the triumph of human redemption. Thirdly, this is an excellent example of a well-thought-out script and an excellent acting duet, the sincerity and veracity of which does not cause the slightest doubt. Justice has triumphed.