The Green Mile Reviews
It's very Stephen King, very Frank Darabont.
And if you love those guys, you don't understand.
If you don't so much love those guys, I think you feel me.
The movie has a huge following because it's
*Has a warm and soothing very linear narrative
*About men bonding and finding inner peace
*Doesn't really challenge the audience in terms of realism or complicated morals and ethics (good and evil are very simple lessons)
*Is filmed beautifully with a wonderful score (that's Darabont)
*Has a pretty good moral of the story: Work with society as much as you can to be a positive influence...if you're not appreciated, move on and don't look back.
*Had a great cast.
I think where it truly succeeded, and where The Green Mile failed, is that Shawshank tempered the emotional manipulation and the fantastic "miracles" of Stephen King's story, and focused more on the suffering of human beings for most of the movie, with a happy conclusion for the main characters.
The Green Mile got cocky and wanted way too much emotional catharsis from us, without earning it. The pathos it built was strange and uncomfortable. The characters were so over the top Evil and Good it wasn't nearly as affecting.
Conmovedora y profundamente reflexiva, una historia encantadora con personajes entrañables que hacen de The Green Mile un hermoso pasaje a la empatía humana.
After this emotional gut punch, the film becomes slightly more tame, with the second half focusing mainly on the healing power of John Coffey. Coffey's character has been criticized as being of a 'magic negro' stereotype- a black character whose purpose in life is to solve a problem for or further the happiness of a white person. But Coffey's character exists partly to challenge the racism of the depression-era Louisiana setting- his pure innocence and benevolence in the face of a murder conviction confounds the expectations of those such as his lawyer, who's comparison of him to a vicious dog is the most obvious example of racism in the film.
Still, Coffey's innocence presents a problem. He becomes an almost messianical figure, a saviour who exists to take away other's pain but is never believably human. This is a shame, as he has some morally dubious points, such as when he uses his power to use Percy to kill 'Wild Bill' Wharton, in the process committing Percy to a mental institution. This is justified in the film as Wharton is a mass murderer and Percy is an abusive guard. But by failing to question Coffey's right to condemn those 'bad people' to death, the film misses and opportunity to reflect on the legal system's right to do the same.
The film is bookended by an unnecessary, sentimental flashback intro and outro, which drags it out to over three hours. Still, in the main body of the film various injustices are not resolved so neatly. These include the lack of proper retribution for Percy's torture of 'Del'. for Coffey's indirect murder of Wharton and institutionalisation of Percy, the lack of recognition of Coffey as innocent, and Wharton as guilty of the murder of the two young girls, not to mention the injustice of a system that executes it's criminals and subjects them to psychological torture as they wait on death row for their turn to walk the 'mile'. The 'Green Mile' could be a morally complex and challenging film about abuse of power and the right of authority to judge and execute. It is, but it loses some of it's potency in the overly sanctimonious portrayal of John Coffee.