The Green Mile Reviews
While The Shawshank Redemption is widely called the best jail/prison movie ever made, The Green Mile is often compared to it and the 2 films can easily be seen as rivals. What's interesting is that both films were directed by the same person, Frank Darabont. However, there is something major which sets both of them apart. The Shawshank Redemption was mainly from the prisoners perspective. The Green Mile, on the other hand, is mainly focused on the prison guards perspective. I was very interested in seeing this movie because I was curious of what he was going to do with it. I was not disappointed when I saw it and I'm glad that I did.
After an African American man is sent on death row after supposedly killing 2 young girls, the prisoners and prison guards are shocked when they realize that he has a miraculous gift. They soon start to think that he probably didn't commit the crime and he may be killed for something he didn't do.
The best thing about The Green Mile is that it is an emotionally absorbing experience with well-developed characters that I cared for deeply. The movie lets us know that just because the prisoners did something bad once in their lives, they still have a charming and kinder side to them and they might not be as bad as most would expect a death row inmate to be. The movie uses this to make you care for the characters. And you know what, it does a great job at it. Scenes when they die are very sad because of the kinder side the gives to them. I have to give this movie credit for making me grow a connection to death row inmates.
There are also characters that you really hate and want to see killed instead of ones you like. There is Wild Bill, a crazy and immature prisoner who acts rude to everyone. The movie did a great job making me hate his character. However, the character that I hated the most was Percy Wetmore. He treats all of the prisoners poorly and shows no respect to any of them. He is even hated by all of the prison guards. There were a few sadistic things he did which I felt were slightly exaggerated and over-the-top, but that's not to say that those actions didn't cause me to develop any sort of vendetta or hatred towards him. All in all, the movie does a great job with most of the main characters. There were some characters which I had a strong emotional attachment to, and there were other ones which I had a bitter hatred for.
Another thing I really loved about the movie was its fantasy aspect. It made the movie very interesting and it made the ending kind of thought provoking. I can understand why someone might find it to be jarring, but I didn't find it to be that at all. I think that it fit just fine in the movie and it is one of the things which made John Coffey such a great character. It immediately made me become drawn to him and the film becomes much more interesting once he gets introduced. Also, the ending is thought provoking because it makes the viewer speculate why Paul is living so long. It begs the question whether Paul's gift of living longer is actually a gift or a punishment. It also makes me wonder how long he will live.
In mine and many other people's opinions, John Coffey's death is the saddest movie death scene of all time. It was not only fleshed out very well, but it was also proven that John Coffey was innocent. This isn't the first film to have a wrongly convicted convict, but it is definitely the film which fleshed it out the most and made the nature of it hit the hardest. Also, the scene when he dies is very sad since it has numerous things in it which can make the viewer feel sad. It could be his last words, it could be the fact that Paul was hesitant to give the final order, it could be the part when he shakes his hand goodbye, or several other things which happen in it.
Despite everything I said so far, the movie is not perfect. The issues in it mainly rely on its pacing and length. Its pacing flaws are most noticeable in the first act as it takes way too long for John's gift to be introduced as the movie deals with numerous sub-plots first and it takes way too long to introduce us to all of the characters. The movie introduces us as to how Percy loses his temper easily by having him break someone's fingers, it shows us a flashback of John being caught, it introduces us to the Warden and his wife, it shows the guards find a mouse and let Del keep it as a pet, it shows another execution, and many other scenes. Also, I felt like it sometimes took a long time for the movie to move along near the middle of it and some parts of it seemed bland. The pacing and length needed work, but that's my only major complaint with the film.
Despite the pacing and length, The Green Mile was well worth my time. It was an emotionally absorbing experience with well-developed characters that I cared for greatly. This is the kind of a movie where you keep on rooting for a happy ending even though you know that it's probably going to have a tragic one. I also really liked the fantasy aspect to it, and it made the movie very interesting and the ending somewhat thought provoking and even more poignant. It's not going to be replacing The Shawshank Redemption anytime soon, but I still recommend it and I think that it is worth your time.
D: Frank Darabont. Tom Hanks, David Morse, Michael Clarke Duncan, Barry Pepper, Bonnie Hunt, James Cromwell, Michael Jeter, Graham Greene. Carefully observed story (based on novel by Stephen King) about the lives of guards on Death Row, and how one of them is affected by a black man accused of murder, who has a mysterious gift. Has the look and feel of a great movie-beautifully crafted, fine performances, often aspiring-but crippled by overlength. Still there are many powerful, sincere moments, and the cast is first-rate. The director also wrote this one.