Royale With Cheese Movie Club: “The Shawshank Redemption”

Wait – Chuck, you’ve never seen The Shawshank Redemption? With Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman?  Good God, how could you have never seen The Shawshank Redemption? Did you know that there’s a big deal about a Rita Hayworth poster –

No. no. Don’t tell me. I know that this film is putt’near 20 years old, and it’s aired on cable channels probably every other week, but to be totally honest, I never got around to watching it.  And yes, it’s now a chapter in the Royale With Cheese Movie Club, and I FINALLY get around to seeing it.

And where did I find a copy of this film?  I got a DVD copy from Cash Central, an Albany-based pawn shop, on Saturday. Actually picked up two “Royale With Cheese” films, suffice it to say that the second film stars Will Ferrell.  And yesterday, I sat down in my comfy recliner, and watched The Shawshank Redemption for the first time.

When I watched this film, I immediately identified with Tim Robbins’ character of Andy Dufresne – someone who made a horrible choice in their life, and now must pay for his crimes, among the lifers and soul-less in Shawshank State Prison.  And from the first day, he kept his dignity, he fought for those who supported him, and he stood tall against those who would take his humanity.

In addition to Robbins, there are exceptional acting performances by Morgan Freeman as Red, the prison smuggler, and James Whitmore as Brooks, the librarian with allusions to the famed Birdman of Alcatraz.

Even in the penitentiary world, there are shades of grey in nearly every character in the movie – I watched the film and found positive traits in each person, and each person in the movie had negative and derisive traits.  Everybody in the film has an agenda in one way or another – money-laundering by the warden, smuggling by Red, the attacks by the prison gang known as the Sisters – everybody is conditioned by the world behind bars, and everybody also is working within the system to make forward time of penitentiary slow time.

All in all, The Shawshank Redemption was a fantastic film, and I’m kinda sorry it took nearly two decades for me to getting around to seeing it.  And now it’s part of my Royale With Cheese Movie Club.