If you are looking for a film version of Stephen King's serial "The Green Mile" that remains faithful to the books then this is the ticket. Most people who enjoy a book are disappointed when it is turned into a film, but such is not the case with director Frank Darabont's (The Mist, The Shawshank Redemption) work with Stephen King's novels.
It is the 1930s and the guards on death row in a penitentiary are conflicted when they discover that an inmate waiting to be put to death has a special gift.
Guard Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks – Angels & Demons, Charlie Wilson's War) is probably the most cynical of all the guards as he has seen everything over the years. All Edgecomb's doubts and the erosion of his faith starts to melt away when he meets gargantuan prisoner, John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan – Kung Fu Panda, Sin City). Coffey is going to be put to death for the murder of two children and despite the fact that he is a mountain of a man he cannot sleep in his cell without a night light. The man is the most kindhearted that the guards have ever met, plus he seems to be able to…
Guards Edgecomb, Brutus (David Morse – The Hurt Locker, Disturbia) and Percy (Doug Hutchison – from television's Lost) begin to question if Coffey is really responsible for what he is accused of.
What really appears to be a simple story turns out to have more to it than meets the eye. The story is actually quite intricate and there are a number of twists and turns along the way. It is not simply one of those films where you try to figure out if he is guilty or not. You have to suspend belief to really get the full effect of the film. Bottom line is that it is a good film because it contains a good story.
The humanity of the story and humankind is really the focal point. We really feel the stress that the guards on death row experience. As the film goes on it becomes tangible. The electric chair scenes are hard to watch, but the realism adds to the film.
The real revelation in this large ensemble cast that contains Morse, Hanks, Bonnie Hunt, Gary Sinese, James Cromwell, Patricia Clarkson, and Henry Dean Stanton is (at the time) relative newcomer, Michael Clarke Duncan. He makes the character so likeable and portrays the emotions felt so well that he received an Oscar nomination for the role.
On the downside, the film requires quite a time investment as it is over 3 hours long. But it does not drag on and really that time was well used to develop the story and characters.
-Walking the Mile: The Making of the Green Mile
-Miracles and Mystery: Creating the Green Mile
-Michael Clarke Duncan's Screen Test
-Tom Hanks' Makeup Tests