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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 24.48%
Average: 10.37%
Pretty Bad: 5.81%
Total Crap: 6.22%

13 reviews, 163 user ratings

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Green Mile, The
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by Greg Muskewitz

"As a precaution make sure to bring an unopened box of tissues!"
5 stars

Some may say it's a misfortune that I haven't seen Frank Darabont's only other directorial credit, the 1994 critically lauded, award-worthy "Shawshank Redemption." Just to note, I strongly look forward to watching the movie in my film as literature class. After having seen "The Green Mile," and having a little foreknowledge about "Shawshank Redemption," I'm interested in what Darabont's preoccupation is with prison. Don't take that as a criticism though, for the year wouldn't be a complete one if I hadn't had seen this amazing film.

Like Hanks' previous film, "Saving Private Ryan," the movie starts off in present time and goes back to tell the film's focal story; this one leans back to about the middle to latter 1930s. Tom Hanks plays Paul Edgecomb, who runs block E in a Southern death row prison. He has a peeing problem -- most likely a kidney stone -- and it's a painful beginning for him as he must "accomodate" the new incoming "dead man walking." That inmate happens to be humongous; his name is John Coffey ("Just like the drink, but it's spelled not the same"), and he's played as wonderfully and humanely as possible by Michael Clarke Duncan (you might remember him from "Armageddon"). Not only is he huge and bulging with brute strength, he seems to be somewhat slow (not so much as he lets on, however); he's peaceful, respectful, and he's even afraid of the dark. How did a man like this end up on death row?

Supposedly it was because he was found with two white little girls dead in his arms, and presumably he was responsible for their deaths -- we're not sure, but we have a gut feeling about how true the incident is. To make a long movie short (3 hours, 10 minutes), leaving out intricate and interesting details which make up the film, it is discovered that John is a miracle worker. He has the ability to heal and fix things with the touch of a hand and a suck of breath. All that follows on John's part is some extraneous coughing, accompanied by the spitting up of some firefly/spermatozoa-like moths.

Darabont also worked on the screenplay, adapting it from Stephen King's series of "Green Mile" novellas. The story maximizes its effect by controlling each and every emotion you feel during the film. Unlike the pathos of "Music of the Heart," where you could feel the manipulation and controlling of your emotions, with "The Green Mile" it was wholly different. You might have known you were going to be affected, but you had no idea just in what way you would be, or how deeply. Never did it feel like your strings were being pulled just for the empty effect; the film affected you in more of an indirect way, and it made you discover that you really cared.

The one fault I find continously throughout the movie dealt with its length. I have no problem sitting through a 3-hour movie -- I similarly enjoyed "Beloved" and "Meet Joe Black" (but not "Titanic!") -- but as precise and well-plotted as much of the film was, a lot of it pitter-pattered around the story; it all played up to it. Instead of its being entirely focused around this miracle himself, the film built up a lot around Coffey, some of which went on a little bit too long. This extra information was not enough to qualify as excess baggage, though; the film just felt as if it was getting side-tracked along the way, but it always stayed dedicated to the books (which doesn't happen enough with most literary adaptations). Much of the film also concerned the character of Paul, the absorption of his knowledge, and his being the carrier-outer of duties, ideals, and help.

No doubt Hanks was superb as always, but he has now cornered himself into being Hanks as Hanks. It's becoming harder for him to shed his persona for roles, even though he adeptly changes accents, since we see him in caliber role after same caliber role. He deserves his praise, and he takes on roles most others could not fill the shoes of. It wouldn't surprise me for a second if he's (once again) nominated for an Oscar, but there are so many other excellent leading performances out there in search of recognition (Richard Farnsworth, "The Straight Story;" Bob Hoskins, "Felicia's Journey;" Kevin Spacey, "American Beauty;" Michael Polish, "Twin Falls Idaho"), it seems unfair to keep looking only at the surface and the easily accessible.

In actuality, "The Green Mile" belongs to Michael Clarke Duncan, who turns in one of the most heart-touchingly special performances to grace the screen in ages. I will be very disappointed if Duncan does not win Best Supporting Actor during the Oscars for his role as John Coffey, as I am sure he is my first and foremost nominee for the San Diego Film Critics Society Awards. This man and his character are just so likable, so universally outreaching and cathartic. He fills you with empathy, and you're not afraid to let it out, whether in tears or laughter; I choose to cry. Duncan and his character tear and tug at your heart, and if you have any sensibilities or feelings at all, you cannot help but try to reach back to him. You see the ending coming; it's inevitable, but it's done in such a non-compromising yet understandable way, you come to accept it.

Darabont's direction is clear and precise, and his script, filled sufficiently with humor to balance it with heart-felt emotion, is a whopper, and it packs quite a punch. The cast is large and very exceptional. With a 3-hour movie, you have a lot of time to introduce and build characters, that an enumeration hardly seems suffice. Contributors to the overall acheivement include David Morse, Michael Jeter, Graham Greene, Sam Rockwell (very good at being very bad and disgusting), Jeffrey DeMunn, Harry Dean Stanton, Doug Hutchison, Barry Pepper, James Cromwell, Bonnie Hunt, and an unrecognizable Patricia Clarkson.

The cinematography by David Tattersall was crisp, clean and sensual to the eyes -- a very pleasing picture to watch, if not maybe a little too dark occasionally. The music, by Thomas Newman, was for the most part subtle, but occasionally it felt played out and tedious.

It would be hard for me to understand someone who did not like this film. It surpasses mere adequacy in so many ways just within the first hour that it will undoubtably be praised to the highest extent. But the emotions, your senses of feeling and tenderness, are what get you -- just like in "The Straight Story" and "Felicia's Journey." You never feel like you're being led on or faked out; your emotional responses are genuine. I'm not embarrassed to cry during a movie, and I'm not embarrassed to admit it either; "The Green Mile" constantly had me in tears, trembling and sobbing. It's been a while since I've been this emotionally connected to a film and its characters, the last time being in 1997 with Atom Egoyan's "The Sweet Hereafter." Even more current films like "Simon Birch" or "The Straight Story" cannot quite hold up the potency that "The Sweet Hereafter" and now "The Green Mile" do.

For all the time, effort, and emotion you put into this film, never do you feel let down or taken advantage of. As a matter of fact, it may make you feel better when you realize just how much you care -- even about Mr. Jangles, the mouse.

Final Verdict: A+

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originally posted: 12/03/99 20:35:51
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell overrated but still good 4 stars
3/29/16 Aj wales Never wanted it to finish. A fantasy movie that will endure. 5 stars
7/15/15 ER Great acting. Not as great as "Shawshank", but what is? 4 stars
10/07/13 David An absolutely wonderful film 5 stars
11/22/09 art A PURE COCK ''N"" BULL STORY! 1 stars
7/24/08 Shaun Wallner Stephen King wrote a great story!! 5 stars
7/09/08 Farnsy A touching film 4 stars
1/05/08 Pamela White disturbing and redemptive in same story 5 stars
1/03/08 jackie brown Quite simply its THE best movie ever 5 stars
10/08/07 KNurse excellent of the best movies ever made 5 stars
4/27/07 Total Crap Dark, disturbing and a hell of a sad ending that will make you ask, why WHY?! 5 stars
2/13/07 Jacko A long but great movie. 5 stars
11/21/06 Quigley More disturbing than "Shawshank Redemption" for sure; very good acting and sharp direction 4 stars
9/26/06 Luisa the kind of film that will haunt your soul, love it! 5 stars
9/23/06 David Pollastrini very faithful adaptation 5 stars
5/06/06 Ashley Hinz Too disturbing for me. To be avoided. 2 stars
4/12/06 anthonyuk another classic from frank darabont, wonderful but sad 5 stars
4/10/06 anna best movie i´ve ever seen, the only one that made me cry 5 stars
3/14/06 David avery Very touching, heart rentching movie in every aspect. 5 stars
11/20/05 norma jean very touching. makes you think about if we should really have the electric chair! 5 stars
8/31/05 Michael Good Movie ... a subtle push to end the death penalty? 4 stars
7/09/05 Moctezuma Beautiful cinematic masterpiece 5 stars
5/11/05 Simon The only movie in which I've teared up and had a lump in my throat. Simply moving. 5 stars
3/05/05 never wat the FUCK are you on daveman? the film had HEAPS of plot. fuck u this movie is sick 5 stars
3/04/05 Morbid Florist Phat 5 stars
12/27/04 mjoc A little long, but very good. 4 stars
12/23/04 Nick Boyd One of Stephen King's best 5 stars
11/17/04 Gooey Suck my rotted asshole Daveman, this movie rules. Stick your tounge in!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
9/27/04 Captain Planet Excellent movie, takes you through every emotion I can think of and more 5 stars
9/08/04 MEIRAV NORA COHEN wonderful and touching.Great cast. Beautiful story. 5 stars
8/28/04 G-man best Tom Hanks movie by far 5 stars
8/17/04 Anthony G eat my dick mark adnum, this movie owns 5 stars
7/04/04 Daveman Though generally well acted and crowd pleasingly directed, what this film needs is a plot. 2 stars
6/18/04 Leia in the Sky This film is REALLY good. No. It's great. That's what you could call a film! 5 stars
5/13/04 Vacha Moving, disturbing, tear-inducing. 4 stars
1/23/04 Abe Giesbrecht Work of art 5 stars
11/16/03 sean A movie in a class all its own, uncomparable to other films but here, I give it: 5 stars
10/30/03 I Would John Coffey's characterisation was too similar to Tom Robinson from To Kill A Mockingbird. 3 stars
10/18/03 Charles Tatum Excellent, everything "Shawshank" should have been 5 stars
9/29/03 Sonia ADAM My emotions didn´t calm down for two days 5 stars
9/17/03 Jinnvisible Show a nigger in chains / we side with the nigger,,,HOW CAN THAT BE RACIST? r u convinced ? 1 stars
9/10/03 migoloco Great movie with a lot of symbolism which may escape the uneducated 5 stars
6/30/03 John Bale Hanks makes plausable the impossible, in Stephen Kings most sympathetic novel, impressive. 5 stars
6/16/03 Andrew Carden Michael Clarke Duncan Is Superb; Great Direction & Cinematography. 5 stars
3/24/03 Jack Sommersby Its feel-ggod aspirations rob the material of its inherent grittiness. 1 stars
1/14/03 Paul Coleman Stirring and emotional. Thought provoking winner all the way! 5 stars
1/09/03 johnathon an outstanding move kept me on the edge of my seat 5 stars
1/01/03 Andy Todes it's no "shawshank" is it! see amazon for my full review in which i tear this joke apart 2 stars
12/05/02 Dipo Interesting, engaging and and definately worth A look 4 stars
12/03/02 George Jung The prisoners in this movie got fucked over, just like in OZ! 1 stars
11/25/02 Harry Boiled Good (if trying too hard) until the illogical, ridiculously manipulative ending 1 stars
11/25/02 Buddha If it were anymore emotionally manipulative it'd torture bunnies on screen. 3 stars
10/21/02 Joey Joe Joe Junoir Shabanu awsome movie just a little too long 5 stars
9/30/02 R.W. Welch Drawn out and overdrawn in spots, but imaginative enough to hold your interest. 4 stars
9/17/02 Zefram Mann I cried like a baby watching this movie, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. 5 stars
9/10/02 Ramblin Wreck The 75 year old mouse!!! 5 stars
9/04/02 Joe Zappa Darabont's a fucking miracle to the directing business. 5 stars
8/19/02 Mr. Hat (I'm Back!) This is what I call a "Miracle Movie." Frank Darabont is one of the best directors ever!!!! 5 stars
8/15/02 Phil M. Aficionado 4.5 rounded up to 5. Issue: Why didn't they try to revisit the verdict? 5 stars
4/27/02 kati love it 5 stars
3/22/02 The $1.98 Pyramid A Powder rip-off 2 stars
2/28/02 Heather McCune great 5 stars
2/25/02 Jenny Tullwartz Can make mouse live 75 yrs; can't spare an innocent man - Is this a feel-good movie or what 2 stars
1/22/02 Jake Very powerful and engrossing throughout. 5 stars
1/21/02 Spencer Lent John Coffey like the drink only not spelled the same. 5 stars
1/17/02 Flick Chick this movie IS too long, and Tom is not my favorite actor. Even so, darn good movie. 4 stars
9/03/01 spaceworm Sometimes, "The Green Mile" is looooong... 4 stars
8/04/01 K.C. Au Plot summary : Hank's character can't pee, gets his balls squeezed, pees freely. FIN. 1 stars
6/10/01 Turtle Tom Hanks in a Stephen King movie: Is it Toy Cemetery? No, but it's much better: Green Mile 4 stars
5/28/01 cinkcool Great movie, suprised me. 5 stars
5/07/01 Ron Szalata Brilliant Movie 5 stars
4/30/01 Steph Williams This is the greatest made film I have seen. I wept and smiled over the gentle giant! 5 stars
4/13/01 Katherine Another excellent movie with Tom Hanks in it 5 stars
4/08/01 Dave Harris Long but fascinating. The big black dude is unforgettable. 5 stars
3/26/01 Monster W. Kung Sorry Darabont, I enjoyed Shawshank a lot, but to me this was lame. 2 stars
3/26/01 rg could watch it a few times over 5 stars
2/28/01 nothing sucks, except the time(2.5 hrs.) The Evil Penguin 4 stars
2/27/01 heff I'm brewin up some turds for you tomorrow 5 stars
2/24/01 Marie Pretty Good. Could have used some editing. 5 stars
2/12/01 Leather jacket How can disguised slavery be awesome?? 1 stars
2/10/01 KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi The Academy can bite my ass...THIS is the best movie of 1999/2000!! 5 stars
2/08/01 Classicdog A must see!!! Awesome film!! 5 stars
2/04/01 Del R Too much complaining about Urinary tract infections. 2 stars
2/04/01 sam buck the movie made the book come alive 5 stars
1/21/01 Lauren Ciccone A beautiful, intricate spellbinding film. Steven King's Magnum Opus! 5 stars
1/15/01 Sheltia Mccadney This film was a work of art. It left tears in my eyes. 5 stars
12/27/00 Turtle I meant 'Worth a Look' the first time. Sorry. 4 stars
12/27/00 Turtle A magically wonderful movie that will make you laugh, cry, and al those things! 5 stars
12/17/00 Green Yeyed Pea Great film... King rules 5 stars
11/28/00 Cristopher Revilla masterful, one of the best movies of the end of the century!!! 5 stars
11/27/00 moviegoer wonderfully done, loved Tom Hanks 5 stars
11/27/00 Steven Spielberg (no kidding) I should have made this movie! 5 stars
11/14/00 MiS^DeMeAnOr I LOVED it! 5 stars
11/14/00 The EVIL Penguin Stephen King is the man! Made me cry when John is executed. 5 stars
11/04/00 Clifton Wynter One of the Great film ever made about Capital Punishment in America. 5 stars
11/03/00 paul rogers the best film ever made 5 stars
10/29/00 steven hargreaves i'd rather walk a mile over broken glass than watch this shit again. 1 stars
10/05/00 lainey louise michael duncan is awesome-great movie 5 stars
7/28/00 Blackavar it takes a lifetime to see such a great movie, a gem that grabs part of you 5 stars
7/18/00 kittykat i loved it 5 stars
6/27/00 Ionicera Very enjoyable as an allegory, if a little over the top 4 stars
6/26/00 Michael Grimm great performances, tad long in parts though 5 stars
6/20/00 Monday Morning A terrific story, well told. Every bit as good as the book. 5 stars
6/18/00 Gen I'm not a fan of King but this was SO good 5 stars
6/15/00 Trina M. Barnard Must see. Not action packed, but good date movie:-) 5 stars
5/15/00 Tracy I just wanted to give JC a big hug. 5 stars
5/03/00 matt The best King novel adabtation ever!!! Shockingly better that Shawshank Redemtion 5 stars
3/29/00 L.NELSON An absolutely astonishing film.I would see again, thts for sure. 5 stars
3/23/00 Laura Beautiful 5 stars
3/18/00 Josh Great Acting and Directing (sam rockwell is a wow!!)never boring, and makes you think 5 stars
3/13/00 John Markham Like an extended X-FILES episode, when that series was good. Superb performances by all. 4 stars
3/12/00 Mark Atkinson Awesome Movie!!!! 5 stars
3/12/00 galea johan simply the best 5 stars
3/11/00 Franko1 An hour too far - truest words in film from Coffey: "I just want it to end" 3 stars
3/10/00 Matthew Bartley As good as Shawshank? Of course not. Brilliant all the same? Definitely 5 stars
3/07/00 Richard Wright If a film lasts over three hours and holds my interest until the end it must be good.See it 4 stars
3/02/00 john grove a quick three hours, sound honest emotions 4 stars
2/29/00 Bueller One of 1999's best. Incredible performances all around. Michael Clarke Duncan blew me away. 5 stars
2/29/00 Rachem Most manipulative film I've ever seen, but that Michael Clarke Duncan guy kicks ass! 5 stars
2/27/00 JimBob excellent movie, forgot it was three hours long 5 stars
2/24/00 Germanicus Brilliant adaptation of the King story. A little too long but well acted, shot and directed 5 stars
2/22/00 Joel Harwood VERY SAD MOVIE but tom does not deserve a oscar nomination 5 stars
2/19/00 Ian George Horseman Excellent movie..would pay $40.00 to see that quality movie 5 stars
2/18/00 Mic Too predictable and manipulative, but what the hell, still excellent. 4 stars
2/18/00 J Delay Loved it 5 stars
2/16/00 Jamie McGraw Long but holds the suspense - girlfriend said it's one of the best movies she's ever seen. 4 stars
2/14/00 Michael Drew A moving story of redemption 5 stars
2/12/00 JonnyAngel The 1013th image in the movie is the saddest thing I've ever seen. 3 stars
2/10/00 Matthew Smith a brilliant film, moving and disturbing 5 stars
2/09/00 BBReBozo The last image in the movie is the saddest thing I've ever seen. 5 stars
2/06/00 Kyle Broflovski LONG LIVE STEPHEN KING!!! 5 stars
1/17/00 Donna Starnes Great movie, I will see it again 5 stars
1/15/00 Kevin Cho Too pathetic - disappointing acting for a great cast, tried WAY TOO HARD for the Oscar. 3 stars
1/07/00 Jack Meier The best adapted storytelling on film 5 stars
1/03/00 Emily Bring a box of tissues 5 stars
1/01/00 sophia866 Enjoyable but voice over ending is lazy. Great cast. Solid but not transcendant 4 stars
12/31/99 K. Lackey fantastic 5 stars
12/30/99 The Dude A must see 5 stars
12/30/99 Fenris Very well done, but can't live up to Shawshank's glory. 5 stars
12/29/99 Roseanne Incredible 5 stars
12/25/99 aaron zarate truly an epic, deserves an oscar for b\supp actor 5 stars
12/19/99 Malbert Wait for rental-Too predictable, overhyped 3 stars
12/19/99 barak43 Not the greatest film I have ever seen, but it was very strong and moving. 5 stars
12/19/99 Laura All of my friends (male and female) bawled, I really didnt find it that moving though. 3 stars
12/19/99 katie highly entertaining. 5 stars
12/18/99 mike this movie is incredible 5 stars
12/17/99 Elan Davout No Shawshank, but good nonetheless 4 stars
12/16/99 brentorama Extremely entertaining. Better than Stephen King's Green Mile books. 5 stars
12/15/99 Jason S. By far THE best movie of 1999, Oscars all around!! 5 stars
12/15/99 Lindsay Wonderful, powerful and inspiring. It will make you speechless 5 stars
12/14/99 schmegs an amazingly true adaptation with powerful performances 5 stars
12/14/99 Dorgon The emperor is naked!!! 2 stars
12/13/99 The Bro Percy Wetmore should win an award for best bad guy. 5 stars
12/13/99 Beno The old Paul Edgecomb scenes seemed unnecessary, but othewise great movie! 5 stars
12/12/99 Sweet Caroline Inspiring! A tribute to King's work. 5 stars
12/12/99 jenn "Blu Smrf" amazing, powerful, touching, this movie makes you think, excellent! 5 stars
12/12/99 karen Excellent 5 stars
12/12/99 entropy amazing, a must see 5 stars
12/12/99 Matt The end was a little drawn-out, but other than that damn near perfect 5 stars
12/12/99 Old Sparky Unable to be more perfect in every way, except for bizarre, deceitful ending with old Paul 5 stars
12/11/99 Allen Konigsberg Bloated, incomprehensible, silly, "You can see it coming...a mile away!" 1 stars
12/04/99 theguy long, brilliant, embarassingly tear-inducing 5 stars
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  10-Dec-1999 (R)
  DVD: 14-Nov-2006



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