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Tom Hanks stars in this second prison drama adapted from a story by Stephen King and directed by Frank Darabont.
Tom Hanks stars in this second prison drama adapted from a story by Stephen King and directed by Frank Darabont. Into a depression-era penitentiary comes a prisoner accused of killing two children, yet apparently capable of performing miracles
Five years after The Shawshank Redemption director Darabont again hooked up with writer Stephen King for another quasi-religious fable, once more set in a prison. Though lacking the 1994 film's depth, The Green Mile is a grand, sprawling, soap opera of a film that contains moments of high emotional intensity - and a great deal of woolly padding.
In 1935 Paul Edgecombe (Hanks) is an officer at Cold Mountain Penitentiary. Into his care comes convicted child-killer John Coffey (Duncan). A great hulking bear of a man, Coffey exhibits a sort of childlike innocence and seems capable of healing the sick. "He just fell out of the sky," says his lawyer, and though it takes three hours for the plot to work itself out, Coffey's initials provide a clue to the story's inspiration.
Though the film drifts off down some long blind alleys, when Darabont exercises discipline the result is highly effective. The relationship between Edgecombe and Coffey is tenderly painted and the depiction of the green mile itself - the eerily tinted corridor that leads to the electric chair - is very creepy. Coffey himself is something of an empty vessel, but the final scene, built around a clip of Fred Astaire singing "Heaven... I'm in Heaven," is very well worth the wait.
Though the film is way too long, there's a great deal of value here thanks to the imaginative stylings of Darabont and a story with plenty of emotional impact.
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