Movie Review: The Green Mile

[ GREEN MILE POSTER ]Yet another Stephen King novel film adaptation, director Frank Darabont takes the reigns along with a superb cast that includes the great Tom Hanks, Michael Clarke Duncan, David Morse, Jeffrey DeMunn, Barry Pepper, James Cromwell, Michael Jeter, Doug Hutchison…this list could go on forever.

Tom Hanks plays Paul Edgecomb, a prison guard on death row during the Great Depression. Life is as usual until a giant African-American named John Coffey enters the scene. Convicted of raping and killing two young white girls, Paul is surprised by John’s shy, soft-spoken and at times even child-like character. Over the next few weeks, Paul will witness things that can only be described as miracles as the lives of his fellow guards and his own are changed forever.

This drama is emotional, suspenseful and holds your attention like an unopened Christmas present. You’re not sure what it is, but you know it’s going to be something big. On rare occasions the movie does slow down a bit but when you take the seconds to look back at all that’s transpired so far, it’s easily forgivable. Most movies that reach the three-hour mark have stayed long past their welcome, but that is not the case with The Green Mile. It’s engaging, thought-provoking and most of all, heartfelt.

David Morse, Jeffrey DeMunn and Barry Pepper play Hanks’ fellow guards and all have their own viewpoints on the events that occur while being the best knit group of guys they can be. Morse does an exceptional job playing Paul’s best friend and has proven to me over the course of a couple of films that he is an under-appreciated supporting actor.

Doug Hutchison plays the guy nobody likes, Percy Wetmore, a guard on the mile who has connections with the governor and so his sadistic personality cannot be removed from the premises, unfortunate as that may be. He’s the filth of the world that has no place on it and my hatred for the man demonstrates how well Hutchison played the role.

James Cromwell plays the prison warden…again. He’s played this role in like four movies so no complaints there and Michael Jeter plays an inmate who has true repentance for his actions.

Paul is the type of character that is easy to feel for. His actions mirror what I’d like to believe I would do if situations like these were to arise and there’s simply no doubt Hanks is one of the greatest actors of all time. He can make any role come alive as he does here once again.

If you’re reading this you may have noticed that I have referred to Hanks’ character as well as Duncan’s by their first name rather than their last, something I do not usually do. It is to ram home the fact that this movie has plenty of religious synonyms and metaphors. Paul is a religious name, a disciple who spread the Word around the world after making the phrase born-again Christian. John the Baptist foretold the coming of Christ and John the apostle was known as the disciple that Jesus loved.

Even if you’re not a Christian, it’s hard to ignore John’s obvious do-good mentality as well as his obedience, kindness, and caring nature. It’s apparent to me that King wrote this from a religious standpoint even if it is not always taken that way by his audience.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog,  I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.

 90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (Just Go With ItReal SteelMiracleScroogeThe Secret Life of Walter Mitty)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (ElfThe Hobbit: The Desolation of SmaugPoseidonIron Man, Lone Survivor)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too. (The Usual Suspects21 Jump StreetEscape PlanCaptain America: The First AvengerDawn of the Dead)

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (Pacific RimThe Long Kiss GoodnightDisaster Movie)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (Along Came PollyAliensAlien ResurrectionFull Metal JacketThor)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (Patriot GamesThe Great GatsbyPitch BlackAlienSerendipity)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30’s ironically define the 1930’s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (The ContractPride and PrejudiceRedemption)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (The Sum of All FearsThor: The Dark World)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (Midnight CowboyDark FuryAlien 3)

My score for The Green Mile: 96.

Regardless of your religious affiliation, The Green Mile is a modern tale of the story of Christ, all the way up to his sacrifice on the cross. It is one in which Duncan deservedly was nominated for a best supporting actor award. It’s a tear-jerker but it also makes you believe there’s still some good left in a world that’s filled with so much cruelty and hate  and, as Samwise Gamgee says, “That there is some good in this world, Mister Frodo and it’s worth fighting for.” Frank Darabont is one of my favorite directors, directing this, The Shawshank Redemption and my favorite TV show, AMC’s The Walking Dead. It’s a must-see.

Speaking of Samwise Gamgee, stay tuned for Lord of the Rings reviews!

I’d also like to apologize for not writing recently. Since coming back to school, wordpress has been causing me problems. I can’t add tags, link to articles or check my reader or stats. Hopefully that will be fixed soon.

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