The Green Mile (1999)


An ex-prison officer recounts the time during the Depression when a gentle giant with a remarkable gift for healing was on Death Row for the murder of two little girls.

I’ve made no secret of my complete lack of respect for Stephen King and his work, but Frank Darabont made a fine job of adapting another of his prison bound stories. His measured direction skilfully sidesteps schmaltz and presents a nicely judged comic drama with a supernatural slant that manages to survive the rather ridiculous premise. In fact it is a success despite the source material rather than because of it; the mystery aspect is contrived and unconvincing and the supernatural element silly and almost unnecessary. The joy of this film is in the characters and performances, making for a story that’s both in turn funny and touching, thinly veiling a message about the grotesque practice of capital punishment. It’s very well paced considering its mammoth length, never growing tiresome and only the rather trite attempt at seeming profound for the epilogue rang hollow.

Not quite as good as The Shawshank Redemption, but still easily one of the best of a largely woeful bunch of Stephen King adaptations.


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