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The Shawshank Redemption (15)



Review: Jack Foley

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Disc One: Commentary by director Frank Darabont. Audio description track; Theatrical trailer. Biographies. Memorable quotes.
Disc Two: Hope Springs Eternal - A Look Back At The Shawshank Redemption. Shawshank The Redeeming Feature; 'The Charlie Rose Show' with Frank Darabont, Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman (2004 US broadcast); Stills gallery; Storyboards.
Disc Three: Interviews with Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Bob Gunton, William Sadler, Clancy Brown; Original on location footage; Original theatrical trailer.

INCREDIBLY, The Shawshank Redemption wasn't a commercial hit when it was first released in cinemas ten years ago.

Yet, it has gone on to become a modern classic - the type of film which regularly earns itself a place in the top ten lists of greatest movies of all-time, and which is frequently cited as a modern masterpiece.

It deserves all the accolades bestowed upon it, for this timeless tale of love, honour, friendship and triumph against overwhelming odds is one of the most poignant, heart-lifting and downright inspirational movies I have ever had the pleasure of seeing.

Picking up in 1946, it features Tim Robbins as New England banker, Andy Dufresne, who is convicted of murdering his wife and her lover, and sentenced to life at the Shawshank State Prison.

Keeping himself to himself, and forced to fend off the unwanted attentions of the usual prison rapists, Andy gradually makes friends with Morgan Freeman's prison 'fixer', Red, and, over the next two decades, wins the trust of the governor and his guards to make a comfortable life for himself.

Yet, within his heart, he yearns to be free, consistently maintaining his innocence, and quietly planning his escape.

First-time director, Frank Darabont's adaptation of a Stephen King novella is a breath-taking piece of cinema, which recalls the heyday of Hollywood with an effortless ease, and which features two stunning lead performances from both Robbins and Freeman.

Their friendship is terrifically played, so that it will have you laughing and crying in equal measure, as the highs and lows of prison life take their toll.

And the climax is one of those jaw-droppers that will have you tingling with glee - and no doubt shedding another tear to boot.

It may have taken time to find its place in cinema folkore, and was criminally over-looked at the Oscars of its year, but the Shawshank has rightly become a classic and deserves both its cinema re-release and its tenth anniversary 3-disc DVD, which comes packed with extras.

It is one of the most rewarding film experiences you could ever wish to see.

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