The Green Mile (1999) – Review

In the 1930’s, prison guards responsible for patrolling death row at a penitentiary, come across a moral dilemma when they quickly discover that John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan), a new inmate and a convicted murderer, has an unexplained supernatural gift that he is slowly demonstrating while on death row. A masterful movie that will go down as one of the finest to hit our screens. The Green Mile is currently streaming on Netflix.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Director: Frank Darabont
Writers: Frank Darabont, Stephen King
Starring: Tom Hanks, Michael Clarke Duncan, David Morse, Barry Pepper, Sam Rockwell

It’s hard to believe that The Green Mile is over twenty years old, but having been originally released in 1999, it’s fair to say the film still stands up as one of the finest movies of our generation. With that being said, with a runtime of just over three-hours, some do regard this as a little too long for their taste, but from a personal view point, I didn’t once feel bored or feel like the filmmakers had ran out of ideas at all. If anything, I felt like the experience flew by and was gripping from the first minute, to the last.

One thing definitely worth noting is the fact that many components of this movie could be considered as near to perfect as a flick can get. The first that springs to mind is the notable script put forward – parts of it were poignant and emotional, while other parts were funny and heart-warming, couple that with the fact that each of the characters were cast brilliantly and on an individual level, they all managed to leave their stamp on the movie convincingly. With that being said, despite the fact that The Green Mile was set and based on death row, following the final moments of supposed evil killers, you couldn’t help but appreciate and feel affection towards many of them, including the new personalities that were injected throughout.

In terms of the setting, I’ve previously said that one of the film sets I’d most like to go back and visit, would have be Rear Window (1954), but I’d also throw The Green Mile right into that conversation too. The setting and atmosphere in general seemed as real and as brutal as you’d expect, but at the same time, there was something strangely appealing and charming about it also.

Tom Hanks led, and did a superb job as Paul Edgecomb – quite frankly, it’s hard to find a film that Tom Hanks didn’t impress in, and this was no different. Elsewhere, there was a vast array of support, mainly coming from Michael Clarke Duncan, David Morse, Barry Pepper and even Sam Rockwell, who adopted the role of ‘Wild Bill’ Wharton, an outlandish character, troubled with mental health issues, that was intent on causing havoc on the row for everyone around him and even himself.

There was also an interesting performance from Doug Hutchison, who took up the role of Percy Wetmore. The filmmakers did an unbelievably good job in making this character seem as sick, twisted and as despicable as they could, and it’s fair to say that Doug was perfectly cast for the part.

All in all, this one will go down as an extremely touching and emotional drama. Even in a year stacked with impressive picture releases, this sits right up there at the top. It’s also worth noting that The Green Mile was nominated for four Oscars, sadly missing out on each of the four categories narrowly.

“I just can’t see God putting a gift like that in the hands of a man who would kill a child.”

Paul Edgecomb – The Green Mile

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