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Movies on DVD – The Green Mile
The Green Mile is the 1999 film adaptation of Stephen King’s novel of the same name. It stars Tom Hanks, Michael Clarke Duncan, James Cromwell, Bonnie Hunt, David Morse, Doug Hutchison, a host of great character actors, and a special mouse. It was directed by Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption) and was nominated for 4 Oscars including Best Picture.
Paul Edgecomb (Hanks) is the supervisor of Block E at Cold Mountain Penitentiary in Louisiana. He oversees executions in Death Row, known in Cold Mountain as the Green Mile. It’s called the “Green Mile” because the ground is painted the color of wilted limes.
It’s Edgecomb’s job, he says, to keep things as calm as possible on The Mile. He knows that his proteges are under great stress and does not believe in scaring them. All of the other Mile guards share this ethos except for one – a snotty character named Percy Whitmore (Hutchison). Percy enjoys tormenting and frightening convicts. This puts him in conflict with Edgecomb who would like nothing better than to get rid of him.
One day, a giant man named John Coffey (Duncan) arrives on The Mile. Coffey is sentenced to die in the electric chair (Ol’ Sparky) for brutally raping and murdering 2 young girls.
Coffey is a simple-minded guy who can’t read or write and can only spell his own name (like the drink – but not spelled the same.) He’s afraid of the dark and cries a lot in his cell.
He also has a special talent as a true healer – a miracle from God.
Ultimately, Edgecomb begins to doubt that Coffey is guilty of the crimes for which he is sentenced to death. And Edgecomb is tormented that he will be the one to oversee Coffey’s execution if it comes to that.
It’s a very moving film about relationships – between husband and wife, prison guards and death row inmates, and both guards and inmates with a mouse named “Mr. Jingles”. It’s not like most Stephen King films – but it has its moments.
Viewers of this movie will have to endure watching 3 executions – one of them horribly botched (actually caused by Percy.)
But the viewers will also be rewarded as they will also witness several miracles. The film has heart and is spiritually uplifting.
Tom Hanks is superlative in his role as Paul Edgecomb – a man torn between his work and his feelings. Michael Clark Duncan has set the bar incredibly high for himself as this will undoubtedly go down as his biggest role.
The rest of the cast do a great job in their varied supporting roles.
It’s one of those movies that you’ll love to watch over and over again.
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