Friday, September 7, 2012

HOT: The Green Mile

The posting of this review comes at an unfortunate time. I am (again) still catching up on reviews of movies I have watched awhile ago. This comes just days after the death of its star Michael Clarke Duncan of a heart problem. I always enjoyed Duncan in many of his roles - this one probably being his best - and always wondered why he wasn't in more mainstream films.

Anyway, back to the movie. You will be missed Mr. Duncan.

I believe in my life I have only watched two films that were adapted from Stephen King's writing - The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile (but, I will be watching Stand By Me soon).

Here, Tom Hanks stars as Paul Edgecomb, a death row prison guard during the Great Depression. Edgecomb works with Brutus Howell (David Morse), Dean Stanton (Barry Pepper), Harry Terwilliger (Jeffrey DeMunn) and newcomer Percy Wetmore (Doug Hutchison).

Percy is an issue in the prison - but he also just so happens to be related to the warden Hall Moores (James Cromwell), so the rest of the men just have to put up with him.

Edgecomb also happens to be dealing with one of the worst urinary tract infections I have seen - and has difficulty using the rest room, walking sometimes and in the boudoir with his wife Jan (Bonnie Hunt).

One day a prisoner arrives to the 'Mile', which they call it. A prisoner named John Coffey (Duncan) who is convicted of killing a pair of young girls. He joins two men already on death row, Eduard Delacroix (Michael Jeter) and Arlen Bitterbuck (Graham Greene).

After the death of Bitterbuck, the Mile gets another member 'Wild Bill' Wharton (Sam Rockwell). Wharton is one of the worst criminals - and really stirs things up on the Mile.

The guards begin to realize that Coffey may be a bit different than other prisoners - and not just because he stands almost a foot taller than the rest. Edgecomb even begins to develop a relationship with Coffey and begins to think he didn't commit the crimes he is being charged with.

After Eduard's circus mouse is killed by Percy, Coffey shows his first miracle - bringing the mouse back to life. Standing amazed, the guards truly believe Coffey is something special - and begin to feel horrible that they will have to put him to death.

The film is marvelous to look at. You get the feeling by how the film looks just how it felt to be working on the Mile. Constantly sweating - much like in A Time to Kill - it was used very well.

The acting is top-notch. Hanks and Duncan are the standouts, but Cromwell, Morse and Pepper also give memorable performances. Hutchison, who is seriously despised in this role, does a great job to make us hate him. Finally, Jeter and Rockwell were just amazing in their roles as criminals. Rockwell really went over the edge as 'Wild Bill'.

This is one of those films that is great, but hard to watch except every so often. It's long and you begin to feel for these characters, especially Coffey, that it's hard to take on repeat viewings.


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