I can’t believe I hadn’t seen this yet. I vaguely recall getting it confused with Shawshank Redemption (Schindler’s Redemption…the Shawshank List…) and accidentally renting Shawshank Redemption twice instead of Schindler’s List.
The overall sense I’ve been left with is more about the filmmaking than the story. The first 1/3 of the film had excellent film making. It stood back and let the viewer make up their own mind about what they were seeing. I kept thinking of the best of Quentin Tarantino – the unreal charismatic character, the near farcical exchanges. By the time the storytelling hit the middle, it was so heavy handed in trying to force an emotion I switched off. I could even tag the switch from ‘stand-back-storytelling’ to ‘movie-maker-manipulating’ to this one moment when some bathos-ridden musical theme started to play to further tug at the heartstrings. By contrast, the first 1/3 I couldn’t recall any music except that which was integral to the scene (like party music being played at a party).
If ever there was a story which didn’t need all this film fruit on top to actually evoke an emotion, it’s this story.