The Green Mile (1999)

I never thought Micheal Clarke Duncan could captivate me so much.

Adaptation of Stephen King’s supernatural tale is set on death row in a Southern prison, where gentle giant John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan) possesses the mysterious power to heal people’s ailments. When the cell block’s head guard, Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks), recognizes Coffey’s miraculous gift, he tries desperately to help stave off the condemned man’s execution.

This film is directed by Frank Darabont, the same person who did The Shawshank Redemption, and once again he’s back in prison. Though that film was about mostly the prisoners this one is more about the guards and how the prisoner influences their lives. This is more of a fable than it is a real novel.

For the biggest disclaimer of this movie is that it’s way too long. Personally I’m not bothered by how long films are as long as their at least interesting and holds my interest, this film doesn’t quite do that. The film felt a little dragged at points, and really I don’t think it felt over 3 hours to tell the story of a prisoner. This film is very interesting by the last 30 minutes but the others 2 hours are just long side notes.

I also felt that the film was trying hard to show us a message about either suicide or how wrong the death penalty is. I felt like both sides were argued pretty evenly, I felt like this movie’s theme caused much more combustion, than it needed. The pace also adds insult to injury with it’s very slow storytelling and many key moments that take long to deliver.

Other than the those problems, I felt like this was one of the most touching films I have ever seen. The great thing is how you see all of these people on The Green Mile. From the gaurds to the prisoners, and also to the houses they live in. You really do get a full idea of how these people act and live by this movie and it connects us to these characters even more.

The added supernatural moments add a lot of emotion to this film, as you sense that Clarke Duncan character is really a good person. I also enjoyed how the whole film wasn’t so centered on him but the other prisoners with him on The Green Mile.

The star-studded cast does the best job in this film and does save this film from some bad moments. Tom Hanks does a really strong job, and doesn’t play his usual energetic performers as he always seems relaxed throughout the film and adds a lot more of heart to the film. Micheal Clarke Duncan is really the main reason to see this film as he steals every scene he is involved in. Clarke Duncan combines the physical look of big, strong, and scary but puts it along with much sweetness in his character where you know this person is kind at heart and you connect to him even more than any other character in this film. Sam Rockwell and David Morse also show off a lot of talent in this film.

Consensus: Though jumbled with a slow pace and a very long time limit of over 3 hours, The Green Mile is a captivating story that has touching performances that add to this emotionally powerful experience.


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