TV Party Tonight! #103

TV Party Tonight! #103

Tuesday, 18 January 2022

The Shawshank Redemption
[4K/Blu-ray combo]

Hello there, dear reader and welcome to another edition of TV Party Tonight! We have several Warner Brothers movies in the chamber and I want to start with the movie I’m most excited to talk about which is the Shawshank Redemption. Why? Because. I’m about to go to bat for this movie and bat HARD.

The reason why I think I need to do this is because this movie gets a bad rap, and it kind of deserves it. First of all, it’s been forced down our throats for the past 30 years playing non-stop on TNT. It’s basically the house-movie on that channel. Would it surprise you if I said I hadn’t seen this movie until a few years ago? Yup. Second, it’s kind of the stereotypical liberation movie, where the guy overcomes the odds using his cunning and smarts almost becoming a Jesus figure to all who meet him. The thing is, I happen to like this kind of movie and Shawshank is a good version of it. Third, it’s a looong movie. Sure, but it’s also paced so well that it almost flies by. Things are constantly happening and watching the gradual rise of Andy Dufresne is still a compelling experience. Fourth, this movie is schlocky in the sense that its dialogue frequently gets clunky and contrived and the whole look and sound of the movie is like a cheap hallmark film. Even the font on this 4K/Blu-ray set looks like Papyrus. That one is kind of hard to defend,  but I will say it’s an epic built on 25 million dollars and seeing them stretch that “small” budget to build such a big movie is pretty admirable. I can understand anyone having these gripes; they just aren’t shortcomings to me.

In case you hadn’t noticed, I really like this movie.

For me, personally, the cast is also a highlight. Filled with mostly unknowns, each actor still manages to stand out and contributes to the story in a significant way. Morgan Freeman is the perfect narrator painting on the blank canvass of the mystery that is life in Shawshank and what Dufresne is up against. Tim Robbins is so damn likeable and we immediately root for him as the underdog. He doesn’t have any superpowers, so when we see him use his brains to lift himself and everyone else up, it’s truly a touching spectacle.

This new 4K/blu-ray set is the new definitive version of this movie. Not only do you get the movie restored in 4K, but the set is also loaded with great extras, like a commentary track, two behind the scenes featurettes, a making of, photo galleries and more.

Some might not like it, but I completely agree with the AFI for putting this movie on their 100 best movies. Shawshank is a movie of its time, sure, but it should be commended for all the things it does so well. Revisit this, why don’t you, and maybe your faith in it – just like the Shawshank – will get redeemed.

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