Starring Tom Hanks as a death-row prison guard in 1935, and written by Stephen King, this is an example of story-telling at its finest. My most frequent criticism of films is that they tend to be overlong, but The Green Mile, at a three full hours, needed every precious second in order to pace the story, develop its characters, and lead the viewer into the satisfying conclusion.
Despite some gruesome scenes depicting the details of electric chair execution, the film is a testament to the humanity of people. The audience gets to experience the stress of the responsibility of prison guards seeking to bring a bit of dignity to the last days of the convicted men, and we share their moral dilemma when they are faced with hard choices.
Michael Clarke Duncan, cast as the simple and honest black man sentenced to die for supposedly killing two little girls, is absolutely superb and was nominated for an academy award for his outstanding performance. He's 43 years old, 6'5" tall and a former ditch digger and bodyguard. He has the rare quality to be able to show emotion in a way that makes the audience understand the complexities of his character.
Tom Hanks, of course, is excellent, giving us the kind of fine performance we have come to expect of him. And the rest of the cast, including Michael Jeter as the villain, and David Morse as a fellow prison guard are perfect. There is also a small cameo role for Gary Sinese as the Louisiana prosecutor who believes in the guilt of the supposed killer.
Directed by Frank Darabont who also shared the scripting of this film with Stephen King, every scene is constructed with just the right amount of tension to keep the viewer glued to the screen. There was not one wasted moment.
But by no means is this a simple "wrongly-accused killer" film. There's a slight suspension of reality well integrated into the story line. And constant thought-provoking questions that stay with you long after the video is over.
Unless you are the kind of person who absolutely can't bear some heart-wrenching brutal scenes, don't miss this video. I give it my highest rating.
on August 3, 2006
Frank Darabont's second film since The Shawshank Redemption, another adaptation from a Stephen King story, The Green Mile is concerned with good and evil, hope and resilience against unspeakable odds and the power of the human heart. This is an intense film, finding myself emotionally drained as the last credits rolled, though unmistakably open to the fact that miracles, in one form or another, can an do occur.
Although The Green Mile refers to the lime green linoleum floor in a death-row cellblock, this is not just another prison story but a sensitive supernatural thriller designed to move the human spirit. John Coffey, an African American giant, has been accused and found guilty of a terrible crime - the rape and murder of two young girls. Coffey is found holding the two dead girls in his arms, crying and wailing that he "can't take it back." He arrives at Cold Mountain Penitentiary in chains to await his execution by electric chair. As the film progresses, we discover that the giant, John Coffey has a special gift, and wonder how such a gentle man with a miracle gift can be a child killer.
Tom Hanks performance as the head guard, Paul Edgecomb, is subtle and moving, as he begins to realize his own sense of spirit and humanity. We see this humanity in action when he and the other guards risk their jobs to sneak John Coffey out of death row to help a friend in dire need. The scenes that follow are extraordinary as we witness the power of Coffey and the miraculous transformation of the Warden's wife.
Aside from Hanks and Michael Clarke Duncan's (John Coffey) outstanding performances, the field mouse, Mr. Jingles, stole the show in his many scenes, outsmarting everyone with his tricks and incredible disappearing acts throughout the film.
Director and writer Frank Darabont surprised the world with his directorial debut The Shawshank Redemption. This is a film one never tires of and can be viewed many times and continue to be inspired by the beauty of the human spirit. The Green Mile really cannot be compared with Shawshank, as they are entirely different stories, however both touch on similar themes - hope, resilience and overcoming diversity despite incredible odds.
One looks forward to Frank Darabont's next project, as Shawshank and Green Mile are unquestionably films that will become classics and remain favourites for years to come.
on May 27, 2000
Some complain that this movie is too long and it drags on, I disagree. A wonderful film like this needs to be lenghty to set the mood. It is 3 hours of pure heaven. In this time we are introduced to very interesting characters and a VERY VERY well written supernatural fable. The themes hold something for everybody. Weather you are religious or not, you will see into the deep moral ideas that the film has to offer. Even though it is a fable, it has DEEP and realistic emotions that everyone can relate to. The story tackles everything, from overcomming insecurity to true friendship. Plus it has a wonderful little mouse, that provides some comic relief, which fits.
An emotional roller coaster. Most Highly Reccomended.
on May 23, 2000
I had heard that The Green Mile was a good movie, so I decided to go to the theater one night to see it. Even though the movie was long (over 3 hours) I was kept captivated and enjoyed it the whole time.
The story centers on the connection between a prison guard played by Tom Hanks and a death row inmate played by Michael Clarke Duncan. They develop a unique relationship based upon a special 'talent' of Duncan. In a way, the story introduces the supernatural and religion from an interesting perspective that strengthens the connection between the characters and the viewer. It would take a while to describe all of the significant events in the movie, but they all contribute to character development of not only the two main characters, but the others as well (i.e. the other prison guards and inmates).
The movie is based on the Stephen King serial novel of the same name, which I have not yet had the opportunity to read. It is an interesting tale that will make you think about what counts in life, how you treat others, and the distinction between good and evil.
The Green Mile is one of the few movies (another is Schindler's List) which makes good use of 3 hours and doesn't include any extended dull periods. It is touching to the heart and even though I didn't cry, I felt moved by the story. I recommend this to you if you like good stories with interesting characters.
on April 25, 2000
I went to see this movie in the cinema a few months ago, not sure on what type of movie this was going to be but for the first 40 minutes it was a standard prison drama. Around now it takes an interesting twist and S Kings influence is obvious and from now on it takes you on a high low emotional ride which even for me left me and all of the rest of the people in the cinema silent at the end. Great movie, the best of Kings films yet!
on November 15, 2006
With almost six hundred reviews, I'm not going into the plot of The Green Mile. I will, however, say that in my opinion it's the best film adaptation based on a work by Stephen King that's been done so far. I hope it won't be the last. What I want to briefly discuss is the new 2-disc edition that just came out. If you're a fan of The Green Mile, then you'll want to buy it. This new edition includes the old documentary: Walking The Green Mile, but it's a longer version than the one on the previous DVD. It also has a new 6-featurette documentary on the making of The Green Mile that will pretty much tell you everything that you want to know. The special features total around ninety minutes in length. There's also a commentary by Frank Darabont with the film. All the new material is excellent with up-to-date interviews that includes most of the cast and crew. What surprised me, however, is that there isn't an up-to-date interview with Stephen King about the film. In fact, the feeling that I got from the interviews with other novelists and screenplay writers (Peter Straub, William Goldman, David Schow, Lawrence Kasdan, and Frank Darabont) is that Mr. King is now dead. That's exactly what it sounded like. Of course, Stephen King is still alive. At least according to his website. Still, why King didn't participate with a more current interview is a valid question. He is interviewed in the featurette, but it's from when the movie was being made and King's birthday was celebrated by strapping him down in Old Sparky. I could be wrong, but he's wearing the exact same red T-shirt throughout all the documentaries, including Walking the Green Mile. I will say that this is one of the few times when the upgrade to new "extras" on a DVD is well worth the spending of additional money. This is the definitive edition of The Green Mile!
on July 25, 2002
First off, let me give a word of advice in reference to this movie and all other movies based on books: movies and books are not the same so don't expect them to be so. If you read the book and then watch the movie, comparing all the subtle differences and changes made to the story, you are really wasting your time.
I read the Green Mile and then watched it shortly after and I am conviced this is one of the best film adaptions ever made. The cast is simply amazing, straight out of the book. Michael Duncan Clarke, is John Coffey . . . "like the drink only not spelled the same." Tom Hanks was an even more compelling Paul Edgecomb than in the book. The set design is equally flawless, just how I imagined it as I read the book.
Now to comment on the actual storyline of The Green Mile, the heart and soul of the film/book. The Green Mile is a story which captures the spectrum of human emotion, evoking pain, hatred, sadness and joy. It follows the account of Paul Edgecomb, a warden on prison block E, death row. He witnesses the deaths of many types of men, the pitiful, the deserving and the innocent.
The Green Mile in many ways is an abstract, allegorical retelling of the christian story: John Coffey with the purity and divinity of Christ, Paul Edgecomb an apostle-like witness, the devilish Wild Bill, and Percy, a Judah incarnate. Having said that I won't reveal what happens to these characters, but like the christ story it is both a tragedy and a triumph. And like the Shawshank Redemption, in the darkest situations in life, the human spirit is allowed to shine brightest.
The Green Mile remains a completely affecting movie with wonderful performances by all. It simply touches you emotionally. Yet this review is only about the quality of the blu ray transfer and not my opinions about the story, plot lines or acting critiques.
I do have the standard def version and bought the Blu Ray.
The video transfer is excellent and a definite upgrade from standard def, which wasn't bad by itself. On the blu ray format, the video brings beautiful colorations free of grain, aliasing or artifacts of any kind. Once placed in your player, the Blu Ray version goes directly to the film without first going to the menu. The menu itself provides a play, scene selection and special extras. In this case, the video transfer is the star of the disc and totally deserves the 5 stars I gave it.
The audio automatically defaults to the Dolby Digital True HD 5.1 and there are no other choices, but that is ok with me. There are a great many alternate languages that you can change it to if desired. The audio itself is not bad but not the greatest either. Since most of the movie is dialogue, it is the front stage where the majority of your audio is steered but there is some good use of the left and right front channels for discreet audio but very little will be present in the rears. Early in the movie, Tom Hanks is talking very quietly, in almost a whisper and I found it hard to hear and had to bring up the volume for that scene. It appeared to me that a better audio remastering could have been done. There is almost no audio information steered to the LFE channel; in fact, I noticed that the sub went to sleep after receiving no audio signals for some time, not even during the thunderstorm scene did the sub receive the low bottom end it wanted to reproduce. I do have a very high end audio system that would be esoteric to most. I give the audio 3 stars at best.
The extras on this disc are both plentiful and wonderful with screen tests, make up tests of Hanks as an old man, a couple of deleted scenes and lengthy documentaries about Stephen King's writing dated as 2006, his movies and a bunch of other extras that I simply haven't gotten to yet.
Thankfully, there are no previews of other movies which I hate for taking up room on the DVDs.
All my movie reviews are of this nature and focus only on the quality of the transfer to BluRay so check them and see if they are of help as well.
Hopefully, this review has been of some help to you in determining your purchase, hope I am on the correct path with a review of the transfer quality as opposed to providing plot summaries.
on August 8, 2011
The Green Mile (Drama, Fantasy)
Directed by Frank Darabont
Starring Tom Hanks, Michael Clarke Duncan and David Morse
Warner Bros. | 1999 | 188 min | Rated R | Released Dec 01, 2009
Video codec: VC-1
Video resolution: 1080p
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
English: Dolby TrueHD 5.1
English: Dolby Digital 5.1
French: Dolby Digital 5.1
German: Dolby Digital 5.1
Italian: Dolby Digital 5.1
Portuguese: Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
Turkish: Dolby Digital 2.0
English SDH, Cantonese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German SDH, Greek, Italian, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish
Single 50GB Blu-ray Disc
The Film 5/5
Watching a Darabont movie is like entering another world. He takes his time with the story and the development of the characters. Don't expect fast cuts and short scenes; each film is a work of art that is meant to be savored.
Before I talk about the film, I have to mention a funny story. Stephen King decided to write the book in a series of six installments. King was inspired by Charles Dickens, who also liked the serial novel format. I found the first installment in a supermarket and kept the receipt. It listed the item as "Two Dead Girls" for 99 cents. It's amazing what you can buy in supermarkets these days.
The Green Mile is set in a Louisiana prison, but, unlike The Shawshank Redemption, the inmates can only interact by talking and never leave their cells to mingle. Each prisoner is condemned to death and is awaiting a meeting with Old Sparky, the electric chair.
The story is narrated by Paul Edgecomb (Dabbs Greer and Tom Hanks), the head warder, and the vast majority of the story is told through the use of flashback and is set in 1935. He explains how he met a huge black prisoner named John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan). Coffey is a simple man and seemingly gentle despite his size, but he was found guilty of murdering two little girls. His behavior doesn't do anything to suggest that he was capable of such an act.
Coffey has a secret, but I can't reveal it here without ruining the movie. His nature becomes apparent about an hour into the film and it changes everything.
The story revolves around Edgecomb's role in running the prison and how he reacts when he finds out Coffey's true nature. Prison life is fairly quiet, but Edgecomb has to deal with an annoying warder called Percy Wetmore. We are told that Wetmore has connections and so the other warders have to tolerate him or risk losing their jobs. Another thing that upsets Edgecomb's routine is the addition of a new prisoner, 'Wild Bill' Wharton (Sam Rockwell), who likes to make as much trouble as possible.
One part of the story concerns the appearance of a mouse. The reaction of the individual warders reveals something about their own nature and it's a brilliant plot device. Unfortunately, I can't say anything more about the mouse without ruining the story.
The Green Mile isn't what it seems. It begins like a hard-hitting drama, but things change as we discover more about the characters. In the end, the story is about trust and belief. It's very powerful and some of the characters do extraordinary things. The warders, with the exception of Percy, are a close-knit group. They demonstrate the kind of trust that can only occur between close friends. The stakes are high and the story is compelling.
I'll say no more about the plot other than that the conclusion is very satisfying.
Darabont draws strong performances from every member of the cast. Hanks is superb as usual, but the story wouldn't work without Michael Clarke Duncan's performance and his Oscar nomination was well deserved. I could mention at least 15 actors who played their role to perfection. Darabont was nominated for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay and the film deserved all of the recognition it received. The mouse should have won an Oscar.
The film has a couple of disturbing scenes, such as one of the executions, but is generally a series of character studies. You'll be sucked into the story because of what the characters do, rather than for any special effects or shocking scenes. The story has a lot of heart and will stay with you long after the credits roll. At 189-minutes, many will be wary of watching the film. Don't let that put you off. Good films never feel too long, and this is a very good film.
Video Quality 4/5
The VC-1 transfer looks very good for the most part. Detail in close-ups is exceptional and, apart from a few soft scenes, detail is generally strong throughout. Black levels are problematic on occasion. Darabont uses plenty of dark shots using blacks, grays and browns. Sometimes, shadows obscure some of the detail. I'm very happy with the upgrade, but it could have been slightly better. Owners of the DVD will be relieved that the Blu-ray comfortably contains the entire film, so you won't have to flip the disc over as you did with the DVD.
Audio Quality 4/5
The English: Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix is quiet and I found myself increasing the volume by 10 decibels over my normal level. Once that adjustment was made, everything sounded clear. It's a dialogue-driven film, but the surrounds do play a part when required. Listen to the sound of the mouse running across the floor and you'll hear the fine detail in the mix. One electrocution is particularly noisy and you'll feel like it's happening right in front of you. I couldn't detect any imperfections in the track at all.
Special Features 5/5
The extras all appear in standard definition:
Commentary by Director Frank Darabont
Walking the Mile: The Making of The Green Mile (25:30)
Miracles and Mystery: Creating The Green Mile (1:42:54) - If the commentary and "Making Of" features weren't enough, here's an in-depth look at every aspect of making the film. It's split into six parts if the running time seems daunting:
Stephen King: Storyteller
The Art of Adaptation
Acting on the Mile
Designing the Mile
The Magic of the Mile
The Tail of Mr. Jingles
Deleted Scenes (3:38) - Two scenes which didn't make it into the film.
Michael Clarke Duncan's Screen Test (8:26)
Tom Hanks' Makeup Tests (5:30)
The Green Mile is a film about hope, trust, friendship and the power of belief. It's a stunning achievement and the story never feels boring despite the long running time. I give it a spin every three months or so and am always glad to visit that world once again. Anyone who enjoys good acting, master storytelling and emotional drama would probably find a lot to like in this film.
Overall score 5/5
on March 12, 2014
Not much to be said about this impressive film that hasn't been covered by hundreds of other reviewers here. It's a great movie and covers just about all of the aspects that are in the book. Some gripe that it's too long, but if you were to start trimming things the film would really suffer. This movie will touch you and, while quite sad, it makes you sort of take a reflective view of your own life and the inevitable end of that life. I didn't think about that aspect as much when I first watched the movie on VHS years ago, but now that I'm fast approaching 50, it really does give me pause for thought.
I don't like this film as much as The Shawshank Redemption, but I suspect that's more because of the sadness of the story and the ending being somewhat more of a downer than Shawshank. It certainly is NOT because of the performances. All of the acting talent here is top shelf. Michael Clarke Duncan, as John Coffey, delivers a truly powerful performance that's equal to Tom Hanks, who turns in yet another of his many memorable turns as prison guard Paul Edgecomb. The supporting players are equally wonderful - especially Mr. Jingles! And I want to give a special shout out here to veteran character actor Dabbs Greer, as the elderly Paul. Except for a couple of small recurring character roles on TV, Greer spent most of his career playing bit parts. Even though his onscreen time in The Green Mile is brief, he demonstrates what a great actor he truly was. Such a shame he never got a chance to be a leading man, but everything happens for a reason, or so they say. And with over 300 film & TV appearances in his 50+ year career, at least we have many wonderful opportunities to catch a glimpse of this fine, underrated actor.
The Blu-ray for The Green Mile is well put together: the colors are rich, the focus is sharp and the audio is crisp, clear and nicely balanced. The disc includes a handful of cool bonus goodies to go along with the feature film. You can pick up a nice gently used copy for cheap thru Amazon, so there's no reason not to have this film in your collection! 5 stars for this moving human drama story.