prison movie starring Tom Hanks set in 1930s America, directed by Frank
Darabont that isn’t The Shawshank Redemption. Part supernatural,
part morality tale and all-engrossing, The Green Mile’s 189 mins
(that’s just over three hours) simply gallop by, though the first hour
is useful for settling in.
problem of evil is humanised in a very dramatic way (and I would say,
almost to the point of sentimentality) in the form of the super-human
idiot-savant John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan). He is an ethereal
figure, dominating the frame and anyone in any room through his sheer
height and blackness; a trait artfully exploited by the filmmakers.
is accused of raping and killing two girls. Chased and surrounded by an
angry mob that somehow restrains its impulse to lynch, he is on
death-row (the floor is green like limes). He is as unusual on the
inside as the outside however, and his peculiar healing abilities soon
come to the fore. He gets along with the guards and inmates except one
from each camp.
fact, Percy Wetmore (Doug Hutchison) is one of the most disturbing
proto-fascists I’ve ever seen at the movies. His cruelty is brought to
gruesome fruition in an electric chair scene which is almost impossible
to watch. His innate sadism seems to have no explanation, which is
perhaps the most disturbing aspect about him
Complementing the evil guard is the evil prisoner 'Wild Bill' Wharton
(an uglified Sam Rockwell), in whose soul Coffey sees just ‘bad’. He is
pansexual and perverse and able to mimic insanity when it’s convenient.
There’s also a half-witted Frenchman with affection for the local mouse.
movie looks amazing—there are some shots that look so good, they’re
hyper-real. The period is recreated successfully, even if some online
obsessives point out errors; it is the flavour of the era that is
rendered so effectively. It is still a segregated USA.
message about love echoes a distilled New Testament vision. Coffey may
as well have fallen from the sky because the world is not good enough
for his simple request that love be a force for good. It’s with people’s
love that others kill and this is heart-touching stuff indeed.
have packed so much onto the single Blu-Ray disc. Extras include the
director’s commentary, a making-of, a “creating the mile” doco,
interviews with author Stephen King as well as people responsible for
the adaptation, the acting, the design and a “Tail of Mr Jingles”. There
are two additional scenes as well as a screen test for Duncan and also
Hanks’ make-up test for when he is old; and finally, three
this film doesn’t fill my personal tastes to the brim, it’s a ripper and
deserves its many commendations. There are few technical grounds to
fault it on. It is a moving story, beautifully told by many talented
people. Subjectively, it may present a little sappy but that’s just
taste. I’m sure Hanks fans already have it. It’s bound to raise many
questions and much discussion, even if you watch it alone.