The Green Mile is the long-awaited follow-up to director Frank Darabont‘s exceptional prison drama, The Shawshank Redemption, adapted from Stephen King’s novel, Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption.
There’s one thing that’s going to make writing this review difficult and that is attempting to explain the plot without giving anything away so I’ll have to be brief.
In short, the film centres around the relationship between Death Row prison warden Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks) – at the Cold Mountain Penitentiary in the Deep South – and its latest inmate, John Coffey (Armageddon‘s Michael Clarke Duncan, below).
The latter worked on the land for Klaus Detterick (William Sadler, who also starred in the recent Disturbing Behaviour) as well as The Shawshank Redemption, but was sure to get the sack after being found by the river propped up against a log, cradling the bloodied heads of Detterick’s two young daughters and wittering, “I tried to take it back, but it was too late”.
Did he kill them and so deserves to be fried in the chair or is it just a case of “Not me, guv. It’s a fit-up!”? By the time half this film has passed, all will become much more clear.
The year is 1935 but it is told in flashback from the present day as an elder Paul (Dabbs Greer) sits in a nursing home recounting his tale to a female friend, Elaine (Eve Brent) about the time he worked on the “Green Mile” and had a bladder infection.
As for the title, The Green Mile? Well, Death Row itself is referred to in the “mile” part as the distance it feels like walking between the cell and “old Sparky”, the electric chair. It’s green because of the lime-green colour of the floor. So now you know.
Paul’s having toilet trouble courtesy of his bladder problems and it’s an element of Stephen King’s supernatural mind that aids some relief on hand courtesy of John Coffey. I can’t say any more as that would ruin the whole point of watching the film.
Go to page 2 for more thoughts on the film.
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.