Directed by Frank Darabont
Running Time: 3:09
Rated R for violence, language and some sex-related material.

Go! Right now! Go out right now and see The Green Mile. No wait. Read this review, buy something from the links below, then go out and see this movie. Without a doubt the best film I've seen this year. The Green Mile is easily a shoo-in for numerous Oscar nominations including Picture, Cinemtography, Director, Screenplay, Score, Actor and Supporting Actor.

The green mile is the death row block at the Cold Mountain Correctional Facility, It's called the green mile because the walk to the electric chair feels like a mile, and the floor is the color of faded limes. Among the residents of the green mile are Eduard Delacroix (Michael Jeter) and Arlen Bitterbuck (Graham Greene). Their guards are lead by Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks), with Brutus "Brutal" Howell (David Morse), Dean Stanton (Barry Pepper) and Percy Wetmore (Doug Hutchison) as three of his cohorts. The movie opens with an old man re-telling his life in the year 1935. A new man is being brought to the green mile. The crime he was convicted for was a brutal and horrible one, killing and raping to young girls. His name is John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan). A huge, bear of a man, but one who needs a light on to sleep, and sometimes cries in the middle of the night. Also living on the mile is a mouse who gets taken in by Delacroix (Del) and is named Mr. Jingles. We follow the lives of these people, living their ups and downs, with the movie being bookended by an elderly Paul Edgecomb discussing what happened that year, in 1935.

There are a lot of story lines that run throughout The Green Mile. The main character is Edgecomb, and everything feeds through him. He has a urinary-tract infection that causes him pain throughout the early part of the film. When new inmate William "Wild Bill" Wharton (Sam Rockwell) is brought in and attacks the guards, Edgecomb is kicked in places men shouldn't be kicked, and that's when Coffey enters and Edgecomb (and his wife) witness a miracle. John Coffey is one's of God's creatures, says Edgecomb, and I can't believe that God would put this power into the hands of someone who could kill a little girl. Coffey has these abilities, these powers, to heal and help the unfortunate, and yet to him it feels like a curse. A large black man in this society is not looked upon kindly anyway, and one who travels the earth without a friend is even worse. Did he kill those little girls? Does he want to die anyway? Michael Clarke Duncan gives in my opinion the best performance of the year. His character is a man everyone should be afraid of, just by the looks of him, but has a heart of gold. Duncan makes him a very sympathetic character, one that the audience immediately falls in love with and feels the pain and suffering he goes through every day. Duncan gives the most emotionally powerful performance I have seen in a long time, and deserves not only to be nominated for Best Supporting Actor, but deserves to win. The best thing an actor can do is take a character and make the audience believe that he is that person. And I truly believed that Duncan was John Coffey and that his ability to create miracles were a gift from God.

Percy is the nephew of the governor's wife. Whenever something doesn't go his way he gives her a call to make things right. His attitude is contrary to the other guards on the mile. He sees the prisoners as animals who should be treated as such. Percy asks to be put at the head when Del is executed. This means he gets to read the proclamation announcing the prisoners death. What he does to Del, and what happens at Del's execution is the most horrifying thing I have ever seen on film. Watching a man being executed by the electric chair is horrible enough, but what happens to Del is just sickening. And Percy did it on purpose, maybe not realizing the actual consequences, but wanting Del to feel pain one last time. And Percy pays for it in the end. But his character was brutal and nasty through the entire film, and he never apologized for it. Doug Hutchinson is another one I think should get a Supporting Actor nod.

Paul Edgecomb brings everyone together. He fights with Percy, his relationship with Coffey and the other inmates. His relationship with his fellow guards. Edgecomb is a man who just wants to do what's right. Don't treat these prisoners as animals, treat them with respect. They may have committed awful sins, and they have been judged as having done so, but their fate is coming, and making their last days on earth as stress free as possible is his job. Let God judge them when the time comes. He sees the good in Coffey, and although it pains him to do so, he does what Coffey asks of him in the end. And then never does it again. Hanks will most assuredly garner another Oscar nod. The problem with Tom Hanks is that his acting is almost too good. Every role he ever takes on from now on will be considered Oscar-worthy. This role certainly is, but I think Oscar voters won't give him the award because he's already won two, and because they probably feel he's too good at his craft. He's supposed to be great in every role, so this role isn't any different than anything else he's done. So while he may deserve to win, he probably won't.

The rest of the cast was fantastic. Like I said before, the mark of a good actor, in my opinion anyway, is to make the audience believe they are the character they're portraying on screen. And every actor did that in this movie. The movie may have been over 3 hours long, but the story was told in such a moving and appealing way, that I could have sat there for 3 more hours. It was the kind of movie you didn't want to end. And the best thing about this film, is that with every story, with every character, you truly feel something for everybody. I know that sounds odd, but how many movies have you seen where you don't care about certain characters? Even main characters, sometimes you don't feel anything for them. In this movie, whether you love him or hate him, you feel something for everyone.

This movie will invariably be compared to The Shawshank Redemption for obvious reasons. Both based on Stephen King novels, both prison movies, and most importantly, both directed by Frank Darabont. Shawshank was also a fantastic film that was based strongly on character development and a good story. The Green Mile is much the same way. I think the only reason Shawshank didn't do so well in the theaters, was the name scared people away. But it has a strong following on video, and if you haven't seen it, I suggest you do. Darabont seems to have a way of bringing the best out of his actors and their stories. He makes you feel like you know these people personally, and makes you part of their lives. You cheer for the good guys, and boo the bad guys. Like I said earlier, you feel something for every character in the film, and that's something I find very rare in films today. So overall, The Green Mile is definitely one to go see. Certain to be an Oscar contender, it will touch you like no other movie this year. If you don't shed a tear at least once during this movie, you have no soul.

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Maxim is written for young, professional men who are confident, intelligent, everyday guys. Editorial features include articles on women, food, work, sports, fashion, and sex.

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