Review: The Green Mile (1999)

the green mile poster

Now here is a classic. I feel that everyone should at least watch this film if they are not prepared to read the masterpiece that is its father. The Green Mile is my rendition of bringing a book to screen. As always, only Stephen King could produce such a story, and bring it out so successfully, and harness all the elements that make this story magical. Alright, enough gushing, let’s get right down to it.

Paul Edgecombe (Tom Hanks) is a prison guard on death row, and they call their cell block The Green Mile. Paul is suffering from an extreme urinary infection, and refuses to see his doctor about it, convinced that the infection will pass in due time. On one fateful day, a prisoner by the name of John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan) is brought onto the Mile for raping and murdering two little sisters.  He is a giant of a man, and all the inmates and guards are stunned by his sheer monstrosity, and confused by his seemingly gentle nature.

the green mile john coffee brought in

John Coffey

Life is mostly peaceful on death row, as it should be, yet there is a young, cruel and insolent man working with a fine group of men, Percy Wetmore (Doug Hutchison). Percy is everything that you would never want to be in life, and is incredibly inhumane. Brutus “Brutal” Howell (David Morse), Dean Stanton (Barry Pepper) and Harry Terwilliger (James DeMunn), work together effortlessly and close together to maintain the block and keep it tended. One day, Paul’s infection almost cripples him after a new prisoner has been brought onto the Mile, a crazy loon by the name of “Wild Bill” Wharton (Sam Rockwell), who promptly gives his package a good kicking. John Coffey calls to Paul, and when Paul goes there, John heals him. This confuses the guards, as someone that can work such miracles, and that has such a great gift could not possibly be all the things that he is accused of. The men deal with major moral conflicts. A mouse shows up on the block, and everyone takes a liking to it, and soon one of the inmates, Eduard Delacroix (Michael Jeter) adopts and names him Mr Jingles, which only serves to aggravate some situations more.

The Green Mile  is a solid 9/10. It is an intense story, told exceptionally gracefully, and that has characters that you fall in love with. Their fates become so entwined with what you are viewing, and they become a part of you. The movie touches deep parts of a person, and again I was astounded by how close to the book they kept the film. Stephen King felt that this movie was the truest depiction of his work into a movie, and for good reason, too.

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