THE GREEN MILE (1999)

APRIL 8, 2014

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At over 3 hours long, THE GREEN MILE is worth the long journey as it’s a beautiful film that grips your emotions and holds them tight all the way until its heartbreaking conclusion. 


Based on Stephen King’s 6-part serialized story of the same name, the movie feels episodic but that is not meant in any way as a criticism. As a matter of fact it’s what makes the movie work and stay consistently engaging throughout. 


Told in a flashback, Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks) recounts a pivotal year in 1935 when he was head guard on Death Row (called “The Green Mile” for its lime colored floors) at the Cold Mountain Correctional Facility. 


It was that year they got a most unusual inmate named John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan). Accused of murdering two young girls, he doesn’t seem like a killer at all. He has a child-like demeanor and an obvious gentle soul. 


As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that something miraculous is going on and this will have a profound effect on the entire death row staff as well as the rest of Paul’s life. 


THE GREEN MILE has a very deliberate pace but it is never boring or uninteresting. Even though the film is centered on the mystery that is John Coffey, there is still time for human stories about the guards as well as the other inmates that all dovetail into the main storyline. 


The performances are top-notch across the board with a cast that also includes David Morse, James Cromwell, Bonnie Hunt and Michael Jeter to name just a few. 


Directed by Frank Darabont (“The Waking Dead”), THE GREEN MILE was his follow up to his Must See Movie THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION (1994), which to me is one of the most perfect films ever made. THE GREEN MILE shows the same deft hand as a filmmaker and a real control over story and character. 


The film was ultimately nominated for four Oscars including BEST PICTURE, BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY and BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR for Duncan. 


I know the mile can seem so very long, but it’s a trip worth taking. Just make sure you have a hankie handy.