At times writing is effortless. Other times nightmarish. But it's always therapeutic.

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

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A 9.2 rating has The Shawshank Redemption (1994) on top of greatest movies list as per critics’ views. These are gumshoe kind of critics. You can’t dismiss them. I don’t question this ranking. If you’ve watched it, you know the dialogue is divine, the humour whole and the lessons lasting.

There are movies that I have classified as reference material. Besides re watching them frequently, once in a while I will play specific scenes for a mental or a hearty high. We talking this one of course, plus Pineapple Express, Angela’s Ashes, One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest (Jack Nicholson is cerebral in this), Scent of a Woman, Wall Street Money Never Sleeps, Taxi Driver, The Godfather 1 & 2, My Cousin Vinny and others.

The best thing they did to The Shawshank Redemption is to have Red narrate it. He unfolds it for you. He serves it from the first scoop all the way through. We get in it from his subjective mind and that makes his experiences and that of his colourful crew humanly closer. Heywood is my man. He is brilliantly clueless. Watch him in the field pick a rock as the crew collects some for Andy’s carvings, only that it’s petrified horse dook and he is a joke. Then watch him in the library calling it “The Count of Monte Crisco” and Floyd can’t have it.

Heywood: The Count of Monte Crisco…
Floyd: That’s “Cristo” you dumb sh*t.
Heywood: …by Alexandree Dumb-ass. Dumb-ass.
Andy Dufresne: Dumb-ass? “Dumas”. You know what it’s about? You’ll like it, it’s about a prison break.
Red: We oughta file that under “Educational” too, oughten we?

What I have been thinking about is Red’s explanation of “institutionalized” after old man Brooks holds a knife to Heywood’s neck upon learning he is being let out of the slammer after 50 years. Brooks goes psycho in the face of freedom. That doesn’t make sense.

Red: These walls are funny. First you hate ’em, then you get used to ’em. Enough time passes, you get so you depend on them. That’s institutionalized.

It is an existentialist problem. If freedom is the human capacity to act as one prefers, without restraint or coercion, then nobody is, since even that which we willingly do is particularly reward oriented. You may have freedom of will but lack freedom of action or freedom of action but you lack freedom of will.

When Red is released after 40 years in there, he keeps asking the store manager for permission to go pee. That’s institutionalized. It’s some kind of conditioned prison. That happens everywhere apparently. Our social relationships, jobs, friends, businesses, favorite foods, joints are all institutions. You only know they are when you try leaving them. They have such a hard-boiled hold on you and that scares me a bit but every time. Not being free. I wonder what freedom is. Can one really be free? Is it an attitude?

Red: [narrating] We sat and drank with the sun on our shoulders and felt like free men. Hell, we could have been tarring the roof of one of our own houses. We were the lords of all creation…


Written by coldturkey

August 1, 2016 at 1:31 PM

Posted in Uncategorized

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