Since its release, The Shawshank Redemption has been regarded as one of the best films ever made, topping, or coming close to topping, ‘best of’ lists by movie fans all over the world. It has been aloft the peak of the IMDB Top 250 Movies, where it still finds itself today. Now, as part of the recent batch of classic entering the Warner Bros./ Universal prestige 4K collector’s edition series, The Film Vault, we unpack what £50 will get you with this definitive new edition.
If you’ve been sleeping under a log for the past 30 years or so, the story is as follows. Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), a banker from Portland, Maine, finds himself sentenced to two life sentences for killing his wife and her lover, a crime he denies doing. Inside the towering prison, Shawshank, Andy begins his stretch as a lonesome figure, though slowly starts to build the trust of fellow inmates, most importantly that of Red (Morgan Freeman), a fellow lifer and prison fence who can pretty much get any item smuggled in… at a price. Over the years, their friendship grows and Andy finds himself carving relationships with prisoners and staff alike, using his skills from the outside to avoid trouble and fit in – he even does the governor’s taxes. Years become decades and Andy slowly starts to adjust to the prospect of ending his days inside… or does he?
Take away everything from The Shawshank Redemption and leave Roger Deakins’ stunning cinematography alone and you still have enough to justify forking out the extra cash on this new transfer. Arguably among the legendary DOP’s best work, ‘Shawshank’ in 4K (approved by the man himself) is the format it must be seen/ owned in… minimum. It looks great in crisp Ultra high definition and sounds equally good, too, with a stunning DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track to feed into your home set-up.
Looking at the bonus features, which include an audio commentary by Director Frank Darabont, two feature in ‘Hope Springs Eternal: A Look Back at The Shawshank Redemption’ and ‘Shawshank: The Redeeming Feature’, spoof ‘The Sharktank Redemption’ and the theatrical trailer, you can find them all on a release less than half the price. However, being a ‘Film Vault’ release, the unit is packages with stunning boxed artwork, collector’s cards, crystal display plaque, a reproduction of the ‘burial letter’ from the film’s climax, plus a poster of the original and new art. Essentially that’s what you’re playing the premium for, as well as the knowledge that you are just one of 5000 people to own it.
A worthy and essential edition in this impressive, growing collector’s series.
Is it worth it? Well, as a fan of this particular series, if I was going to buy the film for the first time – I had this as one of the first DVDs that I owned, as well as on Blu-ray and then the aforementioned 4K – this is the version I would fork out the extra for – even if it would remain in its sealed wrapper for the foreseeable future. It’s a beautiful release, which you’d expect it to be as one of the all time greats, and a worthy and essential edition in this impressive, growing collector’s series.
The Film Vault edition of The Shawshank Redemption is out now.
The Shawshank Redemption [The Film Vault]
The definitive edition of an all-time classic. Expensive, but absolutely worthy of place on any modern cinema collector’s shelf