My first time viewing The Green Mile was close to my first time watching The Shawshank Redemption. I was going in nearly blind before each of the Frank Darabont directed films. I didn’t really know the story at all before watching either movie. When I first saw Shawshank, I was blown away, by both the overall film, but also how Darabont was able to craft a story and keep me interested in it for a long duration. So, needless to say, I was looking forward to the same experience with The Green Mile.
Tom Hanks plays Paul Edgecomb, and in classic story telling mode, we hear the tale from old man Paul. We learn that back in the day, he used to be a prison guard on death row. He, along with his co-workers, Brutal (David Morse), Dean (Barry Pepper), Harry (Jeffrey DeMunn), the new guy Percy (Doug Hutchison), and Warden Moores (James Cromwell) do their jobs day in and out. That all changes the day convicted murderer John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan) comes. With his special “ability”, Coffey impacts every person around him.
The biggest question going in, was would the investment of spending over 3 hours pay off by the end. Now, after getting to the end of the movie, I’m still not sure if it was. Yes, it was a great movie, and had a very emotionally climatic ending, but it’s not quite a movie you watch over and over. Also, the character we are supposed to like the most, Coffey, I find as the most boring character in the film. Duncan’s acting was fine, but I believed the character was just written kind of flat. He doesn’t really have any sort of depth and doesn’t go through any transformation. While it is obviously a Darabont story, it’s just not his best.