The Green Mile (1999)

THE GREEN MILE is a long walk.  Stephen King's smashing serial nov-
el-- about a Depression-era death-row prison guard and the very un-
usual prisoner who touches him-- gets a too-serious, too-straight-
forward update from writer/director Frank Darabont, of SHAWSHANK 
REDEMPTION fame.  (You know, the *other* Stephen King prison mo-
vie...)  Oh, all the essential ingredients of an Instant Pop Clas-
sic(tm) are here:  yet another towering performance by Tom Hanks, 
his equally towering co-star (the seven foot-looking Michael Clarke 
Duncan, from ARMAGEDDON), a weighty-as-all-get-out supporting cast 
(James Cromwell, David Morse, Gary Sinese for one scene, etc.), a 
meaty, can't-miss story, a SAVING PRIVATE RYAN-ish, old-man-remem-
bers-his-past framing device, and plenty of hard-times period de-
tail.  (Right down to the soft-drink bottles.)  And, as plain, ol'-
fashioned, Saturday-night-at-the-movies entertainment, this one's 
chock *full* of nuts.  From trained mice to dying wives to bullies
overdue a beating, you *name* the dramatic device and it's here.  
Capers, killers, mysteries, murders, a little bit of mirth, *and* 
what's gotta be the grisliest electric-chair sequence ever.  (Any-
one observe any walkouts?  And were they whistling "Smoke Gets In 
Your Eyes??")

The running time is right around three hours and, frankly, I can't 
recall a more excruciating cinematic experience.  Well, apart from 
THE ENGLISH PATIENT.  Judging from the reaction of the audience, 
however, more people are going to like this one than not.  I heard 
gasps and giggles and what seemed like an hour-long stream of snif-
fles.  (Shades of TITANIC?)  Who knows, maybe it'll be a Best Pic-
ture nominee.  (Or, Heaven forbid, a winner...)  For this reviewer, 
who once upon a time read the book, I was bored from the very first 
scene.  Yeah, yeah, yeah, readers are gonna know everything before 
it happens.  Duh.  And in that regard, Darabont's film is certainly 
a *faithful* adaptation of King's book.  But does it have play *ex-
actly* as expected?  And with almost all of the actions, emotions, 
and plot points hitting their marks so *squarely*?  Nearly every 
scene in THE GREEN MILE is perfectly and often passionately bland. 
No apple-cart upsetting; no running with a stick in its hand; and 
way, way, *way* too few sharp edges.  Friends, I can't think of a 
better boring movie...  With Bonnie Hunt, Michael Jeter, Graham 
Greene, Doug Hutchison, Sam Rockwell, Barry Pepper, Jeffrey DeMunn, 
and Patricia Clarkson.  And just send that Jaded Critics Society 
membership application care of Movie Hell Dot Com.  (Rated "R"/188 

Grade: B- 

Copyright 1999 Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies as MOVIE HELL: Mr. Bo-Jingles

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