Top critical review
Open Your Mind
on June 28, 2001
This is an feel-good movie with good acting and a good story. Many people think that this is enough and think the film is "perfect" or "the greatest film EVER!!!" You who think this are wrong. This film is funny but unoriginal and play's into a crowd's need to reaffirm those values which it holds dear like hope or love. If you really want to feel good, experience a new way of seeing life by doing something you've never done or fall in love for the first time or again. This film smothers originality and art under a web of two-dimensionalism and complacenct inactivity. The protagonist escapes, justice prevails but nothing is said about a world where injustice is the norm and big business crushes the lives of the underpriveledged, forcing them into the occupations that "necessitate" penal provisions like those demonstrated in the film. Someone wrote in a review that this film "sums up what life is about." If that is the case, life is a very empty, hollow sum.
The politics of Hollywood aside, if anyone who gave this film such supreme praise bothered to delve into the past, study the films that have already been created, she would realize that there have been films made of such overpowering beauty and such incredible emotional intensity that make this film look like the rock next to the crystal. That this movie should rest in people's minds as a piece of perfection while films like "The Passenger" by Antonioni linger in limbo, out-of-print, is a true crime. If you need to be supersaturated with hope and wonder, see "Wild Strawberries," by Bergman or "Ikiru" by Kurosawa, both incredible and "inspirational" films that elevate life, but deftly and with a sense of beauty that towers over Shawshank through its sincerity. Please do not comment on my review until you have seen both films.