Why is this a bad film? Because it’s not true to life. The goodies are unrelentingly good, so it’s sentimental, and the baddies all bad, so it’s brutalised. Typical moronic box-office desperation: crank up the violence to make ’em feel bad, crank up the sentiment to make ’em feel that redemptive-thingy, like when Truman sails his yacht through the paper sky.
It’s not ALL bad: when Dufresne plays The Magic Flute through the tannoy, grown men feel their eyes prick. And it’s good when Red gets released. But Warden Norton’s unnecessary suicide, Hadley’s unmitigating angry sadism, and Morgan Freeman’s calm Dumbledore trick wore me out. They’re all working too HARD.
I haven’t read Stephen King’s book, but might have suspected the hand behind the film: the clever plotting and extreme unpleasantness UNredeemed by any genuine humanity.