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Non-Review Review: The Shawshank Redemption

I have to admit, I’ve always found The Shawshank Redemption a tad overhyped. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a masterfully made film with a fantastic cast and a fantastic score from a director at the very top of his game. Still, the movie’s never entirely won me over – perhaps because I can’t entirely buy into the parable of hope and redemption that is being spun. It’s very powerful stuff, but I can’t help but feel a little cheated with the fact that the movie asks us to believe that something good came of the pit of human suffering at Shawshank.

You can easily get board in Shawshank...

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Non-Review Review: The Last Castle

The Last Castle is a bit of a disappointing movie. On one hand, it’s so ridiculously conventional that every step of the movie is choreographed from the moment that the two leads (the “leader of men” prisoner played by Robert Redford and the typical “sadistic warden” played by James Gandolfini) appear on screen together. You know there’s going to be a battle of wills which unfolds and escalates, costing some lives and leading to a (literally, if not figuratively) explosive finale. However, given the on-screen talent on the project, you’d be forgiven for expecting a bit more than the movie delivers.

Redford finds the castle in general disarray, with the warden willing to practice corporal punishment...

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Non-Review Review: Papillon

Papillon is a great film. I fall just short of declaring it a masterpiece, but it’s certainly a proud cinematic achievement (seriously, there’s some lovely stunt work going on here). Based on the true, kinda true heavily fictionalised story of Henri Charriere (his real name is never given here, except for a brief shot of his jail cell), the movie is pretty much an episodic collection of incidences from his time in captivity, having been wrongly convicted for killing a pimp. Naturally some of these individual segments work better than others, and some seem a little disjointed, but Steve McQueen really ties it all together. Which is really something since he’s starring opposite Dustin “Oscar gold” Hoffman.

Hail to McQueen...

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