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My most favourite film. Perfect in every way, shape, and form. Beautiful, powerful, mesmerizing, haunting, exceptional, enjoyable, wonderful, intelligent, uplifting, moving - there aren't enough words in the English language to describe how amazing this film really is. From top to bottom, Frank Darabont, the writer/director, achieved success. The performances are wonderful - has Morgan Freeman ever done a better voice over narration? The cinematography is perfectly suited for the story. The camera work is terrific, but never distracting. The music by Thomas Newman is one of the very best of musical scores. And of course, Darabont himself - debuted with this film, deserved the Oscar he never got, and wrote probably the most literate, thought-provoking, and awe inspiring screenplay film has ever seen. I read an email where 50 priests, pastors, and other religious figures listed their favourite films, and 38 out of those 50 all said Shawshank. It's well deserved. If ever there was a film to change someone's life (as this movie as for me - I attribute 90% of my success with Alycia, my lovely girlfriend, to this movie), than this would be the flick. Perfect, perfect, perfect. Heck, now I wanna go watch it again for the 1000th time.
My second favourite flick of all time. Alongside Raging Bull and above all, Shawshank Redemption, these movies are as perfect and wonderful as film can be. It's Hitchcock's best film; yes, no scene is as iconic or important to film history as Psycho's shower scene, but it's a more mature, focused, and personal film all around. Hitchcock wore it all on his sleeve for this picture - the obsessive, controlling love for a blonde, the unattainable dream that is more important in chasing than achieving, the hypnotic desire for murder and murderous notions...all these themes and more are addressed in the film, and all of them describe Hitch better than any autobiography has. The movie isn't just his normal suspense/thriller, although there are moments that are creepier than anything else he's done, excepting Psycho of course (like the nun's voice in the end, coupled with the scream - gives me terrifying goosebumps just thinking about it). It's also a romance/drama, with intensity not expected of Jimmy Stewart (the controlling madness he exudes in the last act is frightening). There are some scenes that stick with you and never let you go - the suicide, the nightmare, the Scene D' Amour, the climax. It's a haunting, mesmerizing, evocative, disturbing flick, no question. But it's also dramatically powerful, which isn't something I say often about movies before 1960ish. Oh, I almost forgot to mention Bernard Herrmann's wonderful score, that enhances every scene it plays under. Great, great, great film. A true masterpiece.