The cinema yield was mediocre, the reviews were often not to write home about. And yet it becomes The Shawshank Redemption, can be seen again in the cinema from this week, now called as best movie of all time. How is that possible? NU.nl delves into the phenomenon from 1994.
Director Frank Darabont had never made a feature film when he acquired the rights of Stephen Kings Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption. The story, about a man wrongfully detained for a double murder, immediately caught the interest of an established film maker. Rob Reiner (Stand By Me, A Few Good Men) offered to direct the film, starring Tom Cruise and Harrison Ford.
But Darabont chose his own way. He cast Tim Robbins in the role of Andy, the banker who intelligently survives prison life. The film is now viewed through the eyes of Red (Morgan Freeman), who has been imprisoned for years and comes to important life insights with his new partner.
At first, film did not seem special
At the time, no one could possibly imagine that The Shawshank Redemption would become such a beloved film. With a cinema revenue of $ 28 million, he just barely got out of the way. And while the prison drama received seven Oscar nominations, none of it was cashed in.
Dutch film professionals also saw little brilliant in the film. “Hollywood can’t handle the grueling boredom in prison,” he said Faithful in 1995. The AD wrote, “That The Shawshank Redemption despite the clichés accumulation, attention is mainly due to the excellent performances of the protagonists. “
The latter review was written at the time by Ab Zagt, who is still a film critic for it AD is. “I have seen the film a few times since then,” he tells NU.nl. “It is a great story about loyalty and friendship, with many subplots that also work. But I must say that I am surprised that so many people love it.”
“There are better films in the same genre,” says Zagt. “The Birdman of Alcatraz for example, in which Burt Lancaster rebels against the prison system. And in Cool Hand Luke Paul Newman tries to maintain his own dignity. Staying human in inhuman conditions is what many prison movies are about. “
Audience favorite outside cinema
And yet became The Shawshank Redemption the big crowd favorite, via videotapes and DVDs. In the late 1990s, when internet forums became increasingly popular, he first topped the top list of film website IMDB. For years, there was a battle for the highest spot with The Godfather, but since 2008 the prison drama with more than 2.2 million votes seems to be unbeatable.
American film critic Roger Ebert also went The Shawshank Redemption in the course of the years appreciate more, partly because the storytelling perspective does not lie with the main character. A trick that King also used with his magical prison story The Green Mile, also made into a film by Darabont.
“I think the film is not about his hero, but about our relationship with him,” Ebert writes. “It’s about our curiosity, our compassion, our admiration. If Andy had been the heroic center, boldly patient, the film would have been more conventional and less mysterious.”
“Redemption films are approached with great caution,” explains Ebert. “A lot of people don’t react enthusiastically to the prospect of a great movie. It sounds like a lot of work. But in the meantime, there’s a hunger for a hopeful message. And when a movie offers that, it’s also likely to stick. Even if he doesn’t immediately draws a large audience. “