It is very difficult to criticize this movie. It's one of my favourites, so I wouldn't even want to try. But if you were being paid money specifically to criticize this particular film, the best you'd be able to do is find any little continuity errors you could, or stuff like that. It just all fits too well. The story, the script, the sound track, and the actors. It is insanely well cast. It's undoubtedly Tim Robbins' best performance, and the role of Red Redding fits Morgan Freeman to a tee (except for the fact that he was originally written as a redheaded irishman). The supporting cast is great as well, with many memorable characters. I won't flood you with names, but you'll recognize a bunch of them.

This is the only movie I've ever seen which is better than the book it is based on. Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption is one of four novellas in Stephen King's Different Seasons, which also includes The Body (Stand By Me), Apt Pupil (better than the movie), and The Breathing Method (strange). I read it last fall, and while it's good, I'd say the novella is only about half as cool as the film. The story is also different enough to warrant the name change. Anyways, definitetly see it before you read it.

In the theatres Shawshank was pretty much a bust. How the hell that happened I dinna ken, but there you go. The good voters at IMDb rate it as the second best movie ever, so I feel a little vindicated. You can pick up the DVD pretty cheaply (around $15 CAN) and I suggest you do if you like it.

I'm not going to bother writing a plot synopsis. If you've seen Shawshank, you already know; if you haven't, you should walk into it knowing nothing like I did.

For more of the same, try on Cool Hand Luke and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest for size.