In recent years the IMDB top 250 movies has had THE GODFATHER at number 1 while THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION has remained at number 2 . The only exception was early in 2002 when FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING topped the chart for a couple of months then dropped down to number 2 for a couple of more months . I`ll probably make myself very unpopular for saying this but I don`t think SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION deserves to be so high
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What I don`t like about it is the amount of cliches . New prisoner arrives and finds a maggot in his food , prison cliche 37 . New prisoner gives maggot to old prisoner to feed his pet bird , prison cliche 43 . It`s revealed at the end that the prisoner who has spent so many years inside is innocent after all , prison cliche numero uno . Did anyone believe during any part of this movie that Andy Dufresne was guilty ? Neither did I . Maybe that`s why I love the American prison series OZ because all the inmates there are totally guilty . There`s other things wrong with the movie . It`s about half an hour overlong , and there`s rather unrealistic bits like the warder having someone killed after finding out Dufresne is probably innocent. Oh and how many prison friendships has there been between a black man and a white man ?
Maybe that last point shouldn`t be taken as a criticism because the performances of Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins are very good and make the movie . Neither of them give a flashy performance ( Again not a criticism ) but both are very subtle in their roles , can you imagine how different this movie would have been if we`d had Tom Cruise and Denzil Washington as the stars ? Perhaps because Freeman`s character of Red does seem to have been written as a white character he`s so good in the role . Am I alone in thinking Freeman has been the best black actor in Hollywood for the last decade because he`s more interested in exploring the character instead of playing someone who`s black ?
There`s also some outstanding touches from director Frank Darabont . Witness the scene early in the film where Andy spends his first night in prison with the darkness falling upon the prisoners faces . It`s almost like the artwork of Andy Dogg as the prisoners look out onto the landing as they search for fresh prey , and there is quite a touching sequence as Red leaves prison out into the harsh outside world to the strains of Thomas Newman`s score
I gave THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION eight out of ten . It is a classic feel good movie but unfortunately being a cynic I do think it`s slightly overrated by IMDB voters