Review: 4K Edition of 'The Shawshank Redemption' a Considerable Upgrade in Quality

by Greg Vellante

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Monday September 20, 2021

Frank Darabont's "The Shawshank Redemption" has the unique claim of having held the No. 1 position on IMDB's 250 Top Rated Movies list for as far back as I can remember. It's simply one of those movies cemented into our mainstream cinematic culture, proclaimed as a classic by a general public that is overly familiar with the film because there was a specific period of time where it played on certain cable channels every single day. It's about as crowd-pleasing and cookie cutter as a heavy prison drama can get, and for this it has withstood the test of time.

While "The Shawshank Redemption" isn't necessarily a film that takes a ton of risks, the sheer fact that it has crafted such a legacy within the conventional cinematic hive mind is worthy of note. It's a film that plays it far too safe for some, but for others it is considered an all-time favorite.

If you fall into the latter category and have the capabilities to view 4K Ultra HD physical media, then you're in luck. "The Shawshank Redemption" has arrived in the format with a picture and sound that better resembles its original theatrical presentation. Previous Blu-ray releases of the film have been a bit too saturated in brightness and warmth, while this new 4K iteration presents a much cooler and color-rich palette more in line with cinematographer Roger Deakins' original vision. Details are finer, the highlight are smoother, and while this 4K transfer isn't perfect, it's certainly a step in the right direction in comparison with past releases of the film.

The 4K UHD disc includes an audio commentary track from Frank Darabont, but it's the same as past Blu-ray releases so don't expect any new insights if you're already familiar with the commentary. In fact, all of the bonus features have been previously released on other physical media iterations, so don't bother making the purchase if supplemental material is what you're in the market for and you already own the film on Blu-ray. This release is about a quality upgrade and not much more, but in that department, it certainly checks most of the necessary boxes.

The full list of additional bonus features includes:
•Documentary: "Hope Springs Eternal: A Look Back at The Shawshank Redemption"
•Documentary: "Shawshank: The Redeeming Feature"
•Featurette: "The SharkTank Redemption"
•Still galleries
•Two storyboards of scenes from the film

"The Shawshank Redemption" 4K UHD Blu-ray is available for the suggested retail price of $24.99