The Green Mile (1999)
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The Green Mile should bring you joy, laughter, and if you are like most in the theater this night, tears.
A character-driven movie requires a lot from the cast, and fortunately when it comes to cast, The Green Mile delivers. As the poster of the movie tells, this movie stars Tom Hanks as Paul Edgecomb, senior prison guard of the mile, and as always he performs very well indeed. Yet the cast around him is even more spectacular, perhaps partially due to them being relatively unknown. With a face you know, one inevitably remembers previous performances, and the new role is coloured by this. Doug Hutchison as Percy Wetmore, a mean spirited prison guard was particularly impressive, yet his character could have been given more depth. The most captivating was the performance of Michael Duncan.
It is hard to find a flaw in this movie. The camerawork is superb, cast wonderful and direction flawless. The movie's considerable length, a bit over three hours, is something that had me worried. Yet the marvellous cast and the peaceful yet firm pace of the movie held my attention progressively through the three hours right to the touching culmination. Many will find this movie to be too long, but I for one was delighted of the style, combination of simplicity of events and depth of characters and conversation.
All in all the The Green Mile is a very touching drama, with the joys and sorrows of the life pictured with great skill, if not the best movie of the year. Five out of five.
Starring: Tom Hanks, David Morse, Michael Clarke Duncan, Bonnie Hunt, James Cromwell, Michael Jeter, Doug Hutchison, and Gary Sinise Written and directed by Frank Darabont. Running Time: 180 minutes. Rated R (for scenes of strong disturbing violence, language, and some sexuality)
By Blake French:
It's not everyday that a movie is able to change an audiences opinion on something. "The Green Mile" is a movie that made me think long and hard about supporting the death penalty. The film, based on a novel by Stephen King, contains such a variety of emotional events that it repels its audience away from its subject rather than glamorizing it. Only a handful of recent productions have been capable of such power. "The Green Mile" is truly one of the best films this year and is Oscar Worthy in many categories. It is a unique, three hour experience that must be seen to believe.
The story is more of a personal narrative than an actual plot. The film offers an interesting perspective of the events that take place. It is seen through the eyes of a man who is over one hundred years of age, Paul Edgecomb, who is currently living in an old folks home with his friend, Elaine. During a very emotional day for Paul, he tells Elaine of a historical year in his experiences. She listens closely to his story.
He tells of a particular year in the 1930's. The setting is a beautifully crafted prison hall. Paul explains he used to be a kind prison guard on death row in charge of overseeing the executions. In this year, several significant activities occurred in his life: he had a terribly painful urinary infection, and met a prisoner named John Coffey. This man has been sentenced to the electric chair for the rape and murder of two innocent little girls. This man isn't like anyone else Paul has seen, however. Aside from being massive in size, he is humble, mild mannered, and caring. After several miraculous events take place that may point to the thought that John Coffey might have magical powers from God, Paul begins to doubt the crimes this so called criminal has been convicted of.
Throughout the story we witness three executions that in an electric chair. These capital punishment sequences have much power and significance. The electrocutions, one in particular, contain some of the most unsettling, disturbing material in film history. The movie is anti death penalty; we see the sometimes sadistic world from the prisoner guards point of view. It will put you in their shoes--and perhaps, change your opinion on the death penalty. I certainly had to think about my stand on this issue.
I did have questions that were not really answered by the filmmakers. I wanted more on John Coffey's magical powers; the miracles aren't investigated enough to suit our pleas. I think the movie could have also stood on a firmer platform of religion. We assume that Coffey's abilities are a gift from God from the character's dialogue, but religion itself is more of a theme in the film than a message or plot point. I can perfectly see why the writers decided to leave these elements to the audiences imagination, to provoke participation. So I suppose my objections are not really flaws, just personal aspirations.
"The Green Mile" contains so many vivid performances, I will not be able to honor everyone who deserves credit in my review. Michael Jeter, Gary Sinise, Doug Hutchison, James Cromwell, Bonnie Hunt, and David Morse are all superior in strength of their characters. Each contributes Oscar worthy performances, and if the Academy leaves these individuals out at Award time, they need to recheck their databases. Michael Clarke Duncan recently received a Golden Globe nomination for his supporting role, and he deserves it. Tom Hanks is just unspeakably brilliant in the leading role. He is right behind Kevin Spacey from "American Beauty" in the best performance of 1999.
The message to "The Green Mile" is clear and understandable: justice isn't always just and the miracles can happen in the most unexpected of places. This film is one of the most penetrating dramas of the past several years. It will induce your mind to think about its subjects, and gradually build on you. "The Green Mile" is a movie that will stick with you long after the ending credits role by.
Brought to you by Warner Bros.
Flawlessly shot on perfect period sets, the whole production binds together to bring the extraordinary story into the realm of a believable and compelling study of human injustice and charity.
I think Paul Edgecomb feels the same way.
Tom Hanks has to be the epitome of a Hollywood living legend...and the guy's only in his 40s. He went from scraping his way through sophomoric slap like The 'Burbs, Turner & Hooch, and Bachelor Party to rise up in the 90s as our towering "everyman." Anyone who marvels in his "simple guy in complicated circumstances" roles such as Forrest Gump and Saving Private Ryan knows that he can deliver the goods...and an Oscar nomination (or win...or two...in a
ROW!!!) But Tom does something very interesting in The Green Mile. He lays back.
The breakout performance in this film goes to Michael Clark Duncan (right now tied with Sixth Sense's Haley Joel Osment for my Best Supporting Actor vote). Crippled by his size, Mr. Duncan has a limit of the roles he can play. However, given the role of a child-like behemoth with Christ-like powers of healing, Duncan brings to the screen a performance that will transcend the Denzels and the Poitiers of the world.
The Green Mile is Cell Block E in a Louisiana State Prison, death row. Paul Edgecomb run this wing with compassion, a startlingly different approach considering the legendary cruelty of southern prisons. He is surrounded by men in him employ who all share his philosophy that these men ultimately await the most devastating punishment. Why make their stay any more troubling.
All save one: Percy Wetmore (Doug Hutchinson), relative of the Governor and always ready to remind anyone who disagrees his HIS methods just who got him his job. Percy hates everything about The Green Mile; the prisoners, other guards, even a tiny, brave mouse who befriends one of the inmates (Michael Jeter). It isn't until another new inmate is processed, a man they call "Wild Bill", that Percy will meet his equal.
So where is the common thread? What is a messianic character doing on death row? What role will Tom Hanks play in his redemption? And what's this "curse" thing I brought up in the beginning of this review?
If I could tell you, you wouldn't slap the money down on the box office and find it for yourself. Let me just tell you that the final blessings bestowed by John Coffey (Duncan) could make optimists and pessimists alike find a common ground. How you perceive the final moments will be up to how you impart on yourself...and the world.
If John Coffey guilty of his crime? Are the fates of the characters in this film deserved? Half and half. Evil is punished, bu t goodness must bare witness...and that has a price as well. Will Tom Hanks win another Academy Award? He shouldn't. Is this a good film? No. It's an incredible film.
I still weep for Paul Edgecomb.
It's chock full of outstanding performances, not only from Hanks, but also from the many supporting characters, all who are rich and full. It will seem slow to the impatient, but will be richly rewarding for those with the stamina to make it to the end.
It will certainly get you thinking about capital punishment and perhaps different shades/degrees of evil. It is either a deeply moving spiritual tale or a wonderfully creepy journey down the rabbit hole of Stephen King's mind; take your pick. Either way, I put it right up there on my desert island list with the likes of Shawshank Redemption. It is definitely required watching.
that pure, love and honesty was portrayed so exquisitely well by Michael Clarke Duncan... it made me want to tear my hair out. If there is anything in this world which reminds me of true human love and compassion, it is this film. If you ever give up hope on humanity and the destruction which our disgusting race has brought to this world, watch "The Green Mile" Hopefully it will change your outlook a little bit like it just has mine.
11/10 SHOULD HAVE WON ALL THE AWARDS AVAILABLE THE YEAR OF IT'S RELEASE.
I love drama, they're my favorites and I don't get bored with them especially when it's interesting; so the length, which is something complained about by a lot of people with this movie, doesn't bother me at all it just adds more interest.
One of the best movies of all time and a must see!
10/10 without a doubt.
The Green Mile exceeded my expectations. Tom Hanks leads a wonderful cast in this movie which stands out by far from most others. If you liked Shawshank Redemption, you'll love this one. I've realized just how good Stephen King can write, now that I've seen this and Shawshank. It's three hours long, and worth every minute of it. It touched me in many ways. I was fortunate enough to see it twice. And I will buy it on dvd as soon as it is available. The Green Mile will certainly become a classic. Go see it, you won't be disappointed.
I would not have guessed this film would have come from a horror story writer. No monsters from the id or any place else are present in this story set in the American South of the Thirties. But demons do exist in The Green Mile and there is a man named John Coffey who takes them unto himself.
The Green Mile refers to the cell block housing the inmates scheduled for Death Row. In that cell block comes Michael Clarke Duncan who is close to seven feet tall and maybe weighing 400 pounds. He's also as docile as a baby lamb and whose only request is that they leave a night light burning because he gets a little afraid of a strange place in the dark.
Of course the guards who have the typical white Alabama attitudes of the day don't quite know what to make of them, but Tom Hanks who captains the cell block and most of the rest find out just how special he is. And Hanks cannot believe that someone like Duncan could possibly be guilty of a double rape/murder of a child.
This modern day parable of the Jesus story has King telling us that it is very possible that many of his kind have walked the earth with talents for healing. One of them got a religion worked around him, but they can come in all walks of life and certainly no one would expect one to come in the guise of an illiterate black Alabama sharecropper. But one of my favorite Bible verses has Jesus himself saying that what you do unto the least of my brethren you do unto me.
Somebody of Michael Clarke Duncan's size and build is not going to get too many really good roles and he certainly hasn't played anything remotely like John Coffey again. Parts like that don't come along and the film seems almost to have been built around him. It's one of the most moving performance that has ever been put on film in history. And it's an incredibly difficult role, he's meek for his size and Uncle Tom like, but as we learn far from it. In fact Coffey is beyond what the ordinary human mind can comprehend. Duncan received one of four Academy Award nominations that The Green Mile got, in his case for Best Supporting Actor. Since the film is built around him, my only question is why was it the Supporting Actor category?
The Green Mile was also nominated for Best Picture, Best Sound and Best Adapted Screenplay, but did not come home a winner in any of these. A pity that one of the best films of the Nineties could not get at least one Oscar.
Where there's a Christ-like figure you also have some devil spawn villains and we have a pair of them in Sam Rockwell as another death row prisoner and David Hutchison as a rat of a prison guard with both connections and issues. What happens to them is both poetic and diabolical in true Stephen King tradition. Others in the cast of note are Bonnie Hunt as Mrs. Hanks, James Cromwell and Patricia Clarkson as the warden and his wife, David Morse and Barry Pepper as two other guards on the block and Michael Jeter as another prisoner with a remarkably trained 'circus' mouse.
The Green Mile is a remarkable allegorical picture and might be considered for Easter time viewing if it has a season. It certainly will make folks think.
Hanks is superb here as is the inspired choice of Michael Clarke Duncan and in fact all of the cast. Even the mouse was brilliant!
It's the story of a simple man wrongly convicted of the worst type of crime. Set in a time where there is no real recourse to justice for such men and with a subplot that becomes the main focus of the film. Is John Coffey a gift from God and if so why are we allowing him to be legally murdered? That he ultimately doesn't mind, doesn't ease Paul's pain or the viewers pain at what we are watching
Both Bitterbuck and Delacroix will make you question the death penalty
Percy's grossly offensive behaviour will make you question your humanity
Paul Edgecomb will make you realise what a fantastically emotive actor Tom Hanks is and Duncan's John Coffey will make you weep
Hats off to you Mr Darabont once again and thank you for a truly beautiful film.
if you're thinking about viewing this title and you haven't seen it already i suggest you get the tissues ready.
Outstanding work by Frank Darabont. Both his prison dramas "The Green Mile" & "The Shawshank Redemption" are real class!
This film is beautifully written and perfectly cast. Michael Clarke Duncan delivers the performance of his career. There are scenes in this film that will make you quiver, and there are scenes that will keep you on the edge of your seat until you cry.
Tom Hanks once again provides a strong support for a talented ensemble cast.
Darabont's skills as a screenwriter that even after three hours, he can bring the film to such a good, solid conclusion.
What, you want to watch it? Great! But don't forget to have grab some tissues first.
Aw come on guys how can anyone vote this film into the IMDB top 250 ? First of all it features the most unconvincing prison officers in the history of cinema who are wetter than drowned fish , there`s no way these guys would get jobs as bleeding heart social workers never mind become guards on death row . Secondly this film is just so predictable ( Which is why I warned of possible spoilers ) there`s no way the audience can be taken in that John Coffey is guilty of murdering a child , and likewise you just know that Percy ain`t gonna enjoy his pension . Thirdly am I alone in thinking Percy didn`t deserve his fate ? He`s surrounded by murdering scum so what do I care if he breaks inmates fingers and lets them suffer in the chair . At least Percy acts in a believable way and consistent manner unlike his colleagues Fourthly this film lasts more than 3 hours and there`s hardly any plot twists that saved THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION from accusations of being overlong
All in all a very overrated overlong film based on a very weak Stephen King story . The fact that King`s original novellas were marketed through a gimmick says a lot about the uninteresting story . Is it any surprise that no one wants to adapt King novels for the big screen these days ?