Genre: Crime, Mystery, Fantasy, Drama
Director: Frank Darabont
Writers: Frank Darabont, Stephen King
Starring: Tom Hanks, Michael Clarke Duncan
The Green Mile is a film which seems to never get boring or lacklustre no matter how many times you sit down and watch it. It is a true great, with a full display of brilliance in everything aspect from acting, writing and directing. I have to admit, this is a rare film which has brought tears to my eyes, an emotional story told with excellence from some of the best-written and most-famous characters within cinema.
The story focuses around Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks), as he reminisces on his years as a death row prison officer on E block’s green mile, however one year and one prisoner sticks in his mind more than any others, 1935 the year of John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan). Coffey is massive, bigger than massive, and has been sentence to death by electrocution for the murder and rape of two little girls; however his mere presence and persona produces questions that if he is responsible for such a crime. A gentle man, a man scared of the dark and a man with a supernatural gift which stuns Paul and the guards of the green mile.
There’s so much more to the story of The Green Mile, the involvement and impact of a tiny smart mouse, the inclusion of vile prisoner “Billy the Kid” (Sam Rockwell) the relationships between the guards of E Block and the horrible, petty officer Percy (Doug Hutchison), who is in my opinion one of the most hated characters in cinema. Paul’s worst ever urinary infection, Warden Hal’s (James Cromwell) dying wife, and the deaths of those sentence to the chair. All these people, all these stories, all affected by the presence of John Coffey, a name no one will forget.
The Green Mile has been written and adapted brilliantly by Frank Darabont and Stephen King. The characters and overall concept is faultless and refreshing. Paul is brought to life by Tom Hanks excellently, just like the rest of the cast, Paul is caring and funny, and as the audience we are moved by the moral judgements he has to make due to his job and Coffey. Michael Clarke Duncan’s John Coffey is everything we expect him not to be, simple, harmless and quite sweet for a man who seems to be the size of two people, everyone is with Coffey and no one wants him to serve his punishment, and the ending always reduces me to tears. The rest of the cast and the characters are flawless, Officer Percy is by far the vilest character and gets our blood pumping, whilst Billy the Kid is pretty much equal. Michael Jeter also deserves a mention as prisoner Eduard Delacroix, whose time on death row and his own story again is emotional and touching. The Green Mile shows of some brilliant acting talent and equally, the writing talent of Stephen King but also the ability to adapt a source from Darabont. The structure to The Green Mile is great, the use of flashbacks, and the way that everything we are shown is linked and pays off is simply great and there’s no wonder he was awarded so many times along with the film itself.
The directing is great; Darabont’s techniques and shots when we first see John Coffey are a nice touch whilst throughout the film there are some really brilliant and faultless perfect shots. The effects are something that should be credited too and for me they stand out, when Coffey displays his gift the effects are good whilst the make-up throughout on characters, especially Hal’s wife, is faultless and completely believable.
The Green Mile is a film all about emotion, and such a great intriguing story; however it has been brought to life making it a film I can’t find faults in. Tom Hanks and Michael Clarke Duncan performances are worthy of all praise as they produce a relationship which really is iconic. The directing and writing is flawless, showing off some real talent and skill. The Green Mile is a classic film, I will never tire no matter how many times I see it, it is a must-watch and a film which will be remembered rightly for a long time to come.