The Green Mile (1999)

DailyView: Day 96, Movie 163

I’m not sure how to start this review off.

The Green Mile does not really have a plot. It is a string of scenes together to tell the narrative of the time during the Great Depression when John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan) was in prison awaiting his execution for the rape and murder of two young girls. Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks) was the head officer in charge at death row, managing the inmates and trying to make their final days as peaceful as possible.

However, as it turned out, John was special. He had a special gift that made Paul and the other guards question the scheduled execution.

This was powerful. I had tears several times over the 3 + hour run time. Even now as I sit here trying to type this up, I have that knot in my stomach about what I had watched. It is an emotional and absolutely transcendent film with some of the top performances you’re going to find.

Michael Clarke Duncan will break your heart with his work in this film. He had such a pureness to his character. An aura that totally played opposite the image of the gigantic man that stood before the others. Tom Hanks is the perfect foil for Duncan as this pairing is so believable, despite the sensationalism of the story. You can see the conflict within Hanks and how much he carried himself with respect for everybody, even these convicted murderers.

There are several other notable performances including David Morse, James Cromwell, Michael Jeter, Doug Hutchison, Sam Rockwell, Bonnie Hunt, Patricia Clarkson, Jeffrey DeMunn, Harry Dean Stanton, Barry Pepper, and Dabbs Greer.

There was one scene in particular, involving Michael Jeter and Doug Hutchison during an execution that is just about the most horrific thing that I have ever seen. It was devastating to watch and will stick with me for a long time. If you have seen The Green Mile, you know to which scene I am referring. I’m not sure that I could watch it again.

There is such life to the movie despite it being about tragic circumstances. The performances are astounding and do not fail to grasp you every time. It is over three hours, but it did not seem like it. Those three hours flew by. I can think of plenty of 90 minutes movies that feel much longer than this.

The Green Mile is another triumph on Tom Hanks’ resume and deserves every bit of positive credit it can receive.

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