The Green Mile (1999)
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The Green Mile (1999)

A review on The Green Mile starring Tom Hanks and Michael Clarke Duncan.

The Green Mile , released in 1999, was directed by Frank Darabont and adapted by him from Stephen King’s eponymous novel, among two other literary contributions by the same author treated as such, namely The Shawshank Redemption and The Mist, starring Tom Hanks and Michael Clarke Duncan.

the green mile

The plot focuses on the affairs of a warden named Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks), charged with the supervision of prisoners on Death Row in a penitentiary during the bleak days of the Great Depression in the 1930s. Forced to contend with both colleagues and prisoners alike, with an excruciating case of bladder infection to top it all off, the arrival of John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan), a gentle giant sentenced to death for the gruesome crime of child murder and rape, only complicated matters further still, especially on account of Coffey’s hand in reality-defying occurrences as witnessed by Paul Edgecomb.

green mile

Michael Clarke Duncan’s character is decidedly one of most significant intrigue, whose intimidating size belied a childlike innocence, a combination simultaneously comical and disconcerting. Despite what he was witnessed to have been capable of, John Coffey behaved more a lost child in a compassionless world than regarding himself as Jesus reincarnate or, to avoid provoking any religious sensitivities, any other persona in the miracle-working precint; a living miracle weary of life's eternal anguish and humanity's hateful existence, conveyed through the man's hide of accumulated scars over the years.

john coffey

John Coffey

Sam Rockwell starred in this 1999 filmic masterpiece as the mentally unstable 'Wild Bill' Wharton, a 'problem child' as he was described, whose psychopathic tendencies, under the circumstances of being confined within the four walls of prison, led him to the audacious harrassment of the local wardens, which resulted later in Wharton's being thrown into a padded room for solitary confinement; whereas Percy Wetmore, played by Doug Hutchinson, assumed the role of the typical pusillanimous bully walking on the other side of the prison bars, whose presence there was attributed supposedly to a sadistic curiosity, so to speak, to watch someone being electrocuted on the electric chair, to which the somewhat affectionate moniker 'Old Sparky' was given by the wardens. It all backfired on him nevertheless when he 'inadvertently' set fire on Eduard Delacroix during the inmate's execution, leaving him to burn a gruesome death. 

A fascinating note to take is the fact that two awkward references to the male urinary function was established throughout the film: one being Paul Edgecomb's much expressed urinary discomfort due to aforesaid bladder infection; the other being Percy Wetmore's accidental leak, the aftermath of a particularly unpleasant encounter with Wharton. There is also the remarkable bond not only between wardens and inmates alike, one equally touching between man and animal as demonstrated by Eduard Delacroix and the man's pet mouse, Mr Jingles.

eduard delacroix in the green mile

Eduard Delacroix and Mr Jingles 

All in all, The Green Mile is definitely deserving of a watch, what with Michael Clarke Duncan's highly acclaimed supporting role in the film, in spite of the fact that in an era where racism was still explicitly prevalent, racist remarks and such profanity are to be expected.

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Comments (4)

Bravo Dread!

I have the book but couldn't seem to read it :( Good review on this Dread.

The great supporting acting skills of Tom and Micheal are superb, i have watched this movie several times including the Shawshank Redemption. Great movie review, including the issue of racism! Thanks Dread.

Good Movie