Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Green Mile. B+

Sort of like 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,' Frank Darabont's ('The Shawshank Redemption) 'The Green Mile' attempts to tell a very human story through the use of fantastical elements. It's about a group of guards on death row (led by Paul Edgecomb-Tom Hanks) and their relationships with the inmates, particularly a seven-foot black man named John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan). Coffey has been convicted for the rape and murder of two girls. Yet he's a very gentle person for his massive size and supposed felonies. Right away he seems, well, different. As the movie goes on we find that he is much more than different. He is, as the characters put it, a miracle from God. He possesses the ability to cure, like Jesus. And, like Jesus (spoiler) he is wrongly accused and put to death. Now this Biblical element may not have been intended, but it is something that I sort of picked up and found interesting. 'The Green Mile' puts strong emphasis on theme and message, yet to me that's not what the movie is really about. It's more about intrigue and awe and character study. 'The Green Mile' is well acted and finely written (it's based off a book by Stephen King, which explains the supernatural element), but it's not really a 'great movie'. It's a good movie, a grand piece of entertainment. But it felt too unreal to me. The entire sequence where they have to sneak Coffey out to go heal a sick woman was sort of preposterous, while other parts of the story, such as the subplot involving a mouse, seemed to go a little too far. And that's largely why this movie is over three hours long. It's filled with unnecessary scenes. I think the film could have easily been cut down to 130 minutes or so. Still, 'The Green Mile' is a memorable, crowd pleasing affair. It's the sort of film that keeps the audience in mind the entire time. There is not one scene that isn't enjoyable. Though, as I said, some are unnecessary.

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