It’s hard to laugh at the roast of a movie that you happen to like, but so long as it’s all in good fun it’s a lot easier since once someone points it out there are moments within The Shawshank Redemption that don’t shine in the same manner once you really take a long, hard look at them. Of course, if you’re doing that then it’s likely that you’ve seen the movie a time or two and are comfortable in pointing out anything that might feel a bit off since there are definitely moments in the movie that might make a person cock their head to the side as they try to figure out how any of it makes sense. But then, if one really thinks about it, this was set in a different time period and if the director was keeping to the period then things were bound to feel a little off since a lot of stuff that went on back in those days might feel pretty odd to those that weren’t around at that time. It is interesting to think of whether or not Andy really shot his wife and the golf pro though, since it would bring into question why the other prisoner that Tommy talked about would make such an admission. Of course, Tommy could have been telling a tale too, but that doesn’t sound too likely considering that his character was known for being kind of an average lunkhead, but not really a liar.
The fact that the movie lost out on a great deal of money to Speed isn’t too surprising since the action movie with Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock was bound to capture the attention of a lot more people since it was fast-paced and didn’t have nearly as much exposition to it, meaning that people were bound to get into it easier and wouldn’t get bored. Sad to say, there were a lot of moments in this movie that would have made some people yawn, and the ending was a little too long for the liking of many people since it could have ended with Red being granted his parole, but apparently, that wasn’t enough. What’s really funny about this movie is that it came from a short story and had a lot of stuff added to it instead of taken away since it wasn’t a full-length novel. Just imagine what might have happened had Stephen King been inspired to write a full novel on this story, and how much it might have dragged on then. As it was, the movie definitely had several slow spots that required a lot of patience to get through.
Some folks enjoyed the narration by Morgan Freeman, others might have found it to be a little much since quite honestly a movie does well with narration if that’s how it’s designed, but there is a point when there’s been enough and the audience really doesn’t want to hear any more of it. But with Morgan Freeman, his voice is so calming and cathartic that one can’t help but just listen and not say much since at one point or another it does end and the movie goes on. At least he doesn’t narrate all of the movies he’s ever been in, since one can just imagine what Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves would have been like if he’d been narrating the tale. His narration isn’t the problem, it’s how much of it is allowed to permeate the movie and how much is actually needed versus how much we end up getting. At the very least his voice is soothing, but even during the narration of some scenes it doesn’t help much since the idea of what prison life is like, or was like back then, is still a harsh look at the penal system and how much damage can be done to a person on the inside. Many might try to tell people that it’s not that chaotic and that guards can’t go beating prisoners to death and inmates aren’t allowed to assault each other, but if you believe that then I’ve got a plot of land on Alcatraz to sell you.
The Shawshank Redemption was, in truth, a pretty good movie since the premise was sound and the message of never giving up hope was actually fairly positive despite all the horrible things that happened to Andy. But another truth of it is that it was also a victim of bad timing and less than favorable marketing gimmicks that didn’t really push it to a willing public. People had to take a chance and seek out this movie and in doing so a lot of folks ended up liking it since it told a compelling story. But sometimes prison stories don’t look so great from the trailers, even if they’re announced as ‘based on a story by Stephen King’.