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THE GREEN MILE

Wow.
I just saw The Green Mile, and for three hours I was amazed, amused and moved to tears.
Based on the "serial" novel by Stephen King, The Green Mile is a movie about miracles and the supernatural...but most importantly, it's about that most complex of subjects, humanity.

In a nutshell, The Green Mile is about the unusual goings-on in a Louisiana prison, Death Row specifically, during 1935. Top billing goes to Tom Hanks, once again playing an extremely likeable every-guy, but one with a bit more of an edge than most of his characters. As usual Hanks is very good. He's just so natural that you forget he's acting, and that he's not actually Paul Edgecomb, his character's name.
However, in my opinion, and no doubt many other people's as well, the star of the film is Michael Clarke Duncan, who stars as John Coffey. John always tells people his name is "like the drink, only spelled different". Michael Clarke Duncan is simply amazing, as is his character. Coffey is easily one of the most likable characters I've ever seen. Duncan's portrayal is so moving, so heartfelt...it just blows you away. He stands at about seven feet tall, and is built like a brick wall, but his child like innocence is what floods the screen whenever he's on screen.
Duncan should, and will be nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar. I have no doubt of this. However, I don't think he'll win. I still think little Joel Haley Osment of The Sixth Sense will get it. Let's face it, having a huge African American man win an Oscar would be a great story, but having a little boy win one will get even more coverage. However both of the actors are deserving of the honor.

The Green Mile was written for the screen, and directed by Frank Darabont, who also did Stephen King's The Shawshank Redemption, another prison movie. I never saw it though.
The supporting cast is exemplary, led by David Morse as Brutus Howell, Tom Hanks' right hand man. I really liked the chemistry between the two actors. It felt as if the men really were best of friends. Another stand-out was Doug Hutchinson as jail guard Percy Wetmore. I've only seen Hutchison in one other thing, but he was very memorable in the role. He played Eugene Toombs, the body manipulating mutant, on two classic episodes of The X Files.
I also think Bonnie Hunt was very good as Hanks' wife, Jan. I've always liked Bonnie Hunt because she's very funny, but here she plays it very sraight and is very effective. Also great in the film are James Cromwell (the farmer from the Babe movies) and Patricia Clarkson, who I recently saw on video as a Lesbian Junkie in a movie called High Art.

The Green Mile is a very touching drama, but one filled with a couple of horrific scenes, and more than a few laugh out loud funny ones! Sure, at three hours long, it's not exactly a quickie, but it never drags and is always entertaining. I remember once hearing a tagline for a cheesy old horror movie that said, "if this one doesn't scare you, you're already dead". Well, on a similar note, if this movie doesn't move you, nothing will.

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