Written and Directed by: Frank Darabont, based on the novel by Stephen King
Starring: Tom Hanks, David Morse, Michael Clarke Duncan, James Cromwell, Michael Jeter
My Advice: Matinee
Paul Edgecomb (Dabbs Greer) is an old man with a strange past, which gives him plenty of sleepless nights. When he finally begins to crack a bit about the edges, his friend Elaine (Eve Brent) becomes concerned, so he finally unburdens his tale upon her. It so happens that during the Depression, when Paul was younger (Hanks), he was a prison guard on death row. This particular row was known as The Green Mile. His life, and the life of his co-workers, is changed forever when a hulking giant of a man, John Coffey (Duncan), is brought in for execution.
Add another title to the list of good King cinematic adaptations. In fact, were it not for the attention the novel garnered when it was first published in serialized form, this would surprise the same cinemagoers who could not believe King brought us the basis for Stand By Me and Shawshank Redemption. It’s so unlike him, they would say… not an undead shambling thing to be found. Well, surprise and get over it. King is a masterful storyteller, and when his game is on… it is on with a vengeance, no matter the subject.
If there is any beef with this film, it’s that it leans toward the long side. Of course, in the shadow of Titanic, three hours and a bit is no longer so strange. But it’s always in how that time is handled. In this case, I got the feeling that certain scenes could have been tightened up to keep one’s ass from dozing. Regardless of this concern, it’s still a fine film that’s emotionally engaging without being out and out pandering. See it on the big screen to maximize impact.