"The Shawshank Redemption and this is simply marvelous entertainment that breathes life into a genre that I thought had been dead for a decade-the prison picture. But to call "The Shawshank Redemption" a prison picture is as accurate as calling "One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest" a hospital picture. Those are the settings of these similar films, but they really are inspirational dramas of individuals struggling against overbearing authority.
Tim Robbins, one of our best, most casual, young actors, plays a banker in the 1940s that is falsely sent to Shawshank Prison for the death of his wife and her lover. In this maximum security penitentiary, Robbins is harassed by the warden, beaten by guards, and sexually abused by inmates. The first and best friend he makes is the elder statesman of the yard, a longtime convict played by the great Morgan Freeman. Over time, Robbins will make other friends, some of whom will be absolutely paralyzed by freedom in the straight world. Even better than "Birdman of Alcatraz," "The Shawshank Redemption" creates the world of overbearing closure that is prison.
"One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" was set in confinement, too, and like that story, the narrative drive of "The Shawshank Redemption"-based on a story by the prolific Stephen King-is a journey of freedom, physical and psychological.
"The Shawshank Redemption" comes out of nowhere in the sense that it is a first feature film by Frank Darabont, who, with this one work, declares himself a special talent. He adapted King's story for the screen and insisted on directing the story too, much in the same way that Sylvester Stallone could not be pried loose from "Rocky." Guts equals glory.
"The Shawshank Redemption" is playing at the Water Tower and Old Orchard Theaters. If you can't get into see "Quiz Show," this should be your next choice. R. (STAR)(STAR)(STAR)(STAR)
MY FAIR LADY (McClurg Court). A marvelous restoration of the 30-year-old musical, precisely... [continues]
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