Movie Reviews: The Green Mile




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     Castle Rock/Warner
     Frank Darabont's big screen adaptation of Stephen King's novel about a gentle giant working miracles on death row --- and a mouse.
     Tom Hanks, Michael Clarke Duncan, David Morse, James Cromwell, Bonnie Hunt.
Bottom Line:


     I haven't stuck my neck out and wholeheartedly championed a film since The Usual Suspects ('95). And I can't think of a better film than The Green Mile to make me once again climb upon my soap box and start ranting at the top of my lungs, "The Green Mile is an Oscar worthy must-see film!"
     The Green Mile is a death row corridor so named because of its green floor which condemned men take their last walk to "Old Sparky."
     Using the Saving Private Ryan bookend flashback device, The Green Mile is narrated by Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks) death row's head prison guard. The film opens present-day with Edgecomb living in a nursing home. When an old Fred Astaire movie comes on television, it jars Edgecomb's memory back to the 1930s when colossal John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan), a kind-hearted black man was condemn to walk "the mile" for the murder and rape of two little white girls.
      During this period, Edgecomb recalls suffering from a serious bladder infection and the headache of trying to control Percy, a young sadistic guard who happens to be "the governor's wife's nephew."
     Percy's only purpose for working on "the mile" is so he can personally throw the switch on "Old Sparky" and electrocute the prisoners. Edgecomb is stunned and awed when both his infection and Percy's sadism are affected by Coffey's "Twilight Zonean" miracle-working.
      Although the Green Mile is a death house and prisoners are executed with the regularity of ordering lunch -- there are some funny and spiritual moments between the prisoners, guards and Mr. Jingles -- a mouse who becomes a pet to the inmates and guards.
      However, the film doesn't let the audience get too comfortable with its pleasant moments and quickly reminds us about capital punishment's gross horrors when an electrocution goes seriously awry.
     The Green Mile involves an assortment of miracles, a resurrection and a moving performance by Duncan that should garner him a best-supporting Oscar nomination.
     The Green Mile's three-hour journey is forgivable and is time well spent.



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