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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Crime > Prison > Literature > The Shawshank Redemption (Warner Bros. Blu-ray)

The Shawshank Redemption (Warner Bros. Blu-ray)


Picture: B+††† Sound: B+ ††††Extras: B †††Film: B+



Frank Darabontís 1994 The Shawshank Redemption is a film that has become somewhat of a modern classic over the past few years.Itís a film that gets many things right, despite some minor flaws.Itís a touching story adapted from the short story by Stephen King that pulls together a first-rate cast in highly memorable roles.The odd chemistry between Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins is impeccable, despite the polar opposites of their characters personalities.Of course it would be limiting to say that the casting for the leads was the films real success, because that is only part of it.In fact, many of the films side characters are just as vital with casting actors Bob Gunton as the warden, Clancy Brown as Captain Hadley, and James Whitmore as Brooks.These roles really help forge the film into a memorable story that has credibility throughout.


Not only is the casting spot-on and incredibly strong, but the writing by Darabont also helps as the story is adapted from Stephen Kingís Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption.The story moves well and wraps the viewer up into a character that they can rally behind.†† Tim Robbins Andy Dufresne is a nobody, who has just been convicted to two life sentences as Shawshank Prison.And while this ex-banker seems frail and brittle who is likely to crack under his newfound situation, it only is a matter of time before he rallies a group of other inmates around the mental battle of imprisonment.They learn new things together, but yet at the same time Andy has other intentionsÖescape.


Arriving in a much-anticipated Blu-ray edition the film has honestly never looked better for home viewing.Iíve seen this film numerous times in broadcast format, VHS, and every Region 1 DVD released thus far.The first noticeable difference is that contrast.The film is loaded with lots of high contrast between the incredibly dark portions and the levels of light that penetrate other parts of the screen.The cinematography by Roger Deakins is superb, memorable, and prevailing throughout.This is yet another reason why the film is so successful.Presented on Blu-ray in a 1.85 X 1 and with a 1080p High Definition transfer with VC-1 coding the film looks phenomenal.Deakins uses a color palette that is often times overshadowed with a bluish tint, while other times it has a more golden/sepia tone to it.Deakins paints a marvelous canvas that gives the film its period feel as we travel through the earlier parts of the 20th century. The DVD for this film was always soft with weak black levels that demonstrated the limitations of DVD, but not the case here as this Blu-ray shows just how deep the dark recesses of the film can get, while other times the transfer is full of an abundance of richness and depth.


Audio is also impressive as the film was upgraded to a lossless Dolby Digital TrueHD 5.1 mix that greatly improves upon the limited and compressed feeling of the previous DVD that was Dolby Digital only.The TrueHD mix is far more dynamic and engaging with Thomas Newmanís score balanced throughout with a lively mix that keeps the viewer engaged and anticipating the next cue.


Extras on this 50GB Blu-ray disc are from the previous special edition release, which featured commentary from Darabont, plus two featurettes and the Charlie Rose show interview with Darabont, Robbins, and Freeman.There is also a comic spoof called the Sharktank Redemption that is also included, still gallery, and the films theatrical trailer.The film is released in the Digibook format, which contains many great photos and short excerpts that quickly make this one of Warnerís highly sought after titles to add to any Blu-ray collection!



-†† Nate Goss††


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