The Green Mile (1999)
Main cast: Tom Hanks (Paul Edgecomb), David Morse (Brutal Howell), Michael Clarke Duncan (John Coffey), Doug Hutchinson (Percy), Michael Jeter (Eduard), and a cute rat
Director: Frank Darabont


This movie is clearly desperate for an Oscar. It all but prostitutes itself for the bald gold man. I know it is practically screaming, Give it to me, you Academy babies! because:

(a) It is 3 hours plus long,

(b) It has Tom Hanks,

(c) It starts with an old man telling the story.

Saving Private Ryan anyone?

This movie concerns Ye Saintly Prison Warden Of Ye Death Row Block, Paul Edgecomb, who in the 1930's receives a special inmate. John Coffey is convicted of rape and murder of two White lil' girls, and can heal people with his hands. Paul also has bad bladder infection, and a junior officer Percy is giving him headache. Paul becomes the obligatory Good Friend to wronged John, and the whole movie sells its soul to the Devil for an Oscar.

How more cliched can one get? Tom Hanks in another bland Saint Hanks role. This man has played so many dull martyred hero roles in one saccharine-bloated kaleidoscope from Philadelphia to this that I just can't be bothered anymore. Hanks is not a good actor - he plays the same role in all his movies. No, I can't remember his lawyer role in Philadelphia, and definitely not the name of his character in the overrated Saving Private Ryan. His movies all work because of great script. And in a dullard like The Green Mile, oh boy, does his blandness stick out like a sore thumb. Hanks doesn't even speak his lines, he infuses every word with pained, self-conscious drawl - oh yeaaahhh - as if he knows that he can't go wrong with any movie he's in anymore.

An inmate has a circus rat has a best buddy, to cater to the animal lovers. Percy is so one-dimensionally stupid and nasty that I am hard-pressed to take this movie seriously. Even worse is Coffey. He is every offensive Black stereotype created since Huckleberry Finn and To Kill A Mockingbird rolled in one. Even his initials, JC, reek of a smug attempt at calculated sentimentality. A Black martyr, perfect, is afraid of the dark, can heal people, and is a saintly baby to boot. How comforting. Someone pass this movie an Oscar for Most Pathetic Begging For One.

The secondary players struggle to make this movie watchable. Oh yes, Paul's three fellow colleagues keep things amusing and watchable for the first one hour, but they are soon pushed away for Paul and John's Good Star-Crossed Buddydom.

And the ending... tsk tsk. I've seen sugar cakes with less glucose.

Someone ought to give this movie an Oscar, if only to stop it from prostituting itself further for self-pretentious critical acclaimability. Just be grateful I'm not in the Academy, Frankie, for I still think The Shawshank Redemption and Dead Man Walking kick your sorry scrawny, pretentious, overlarded behind anyday.

Rating: 31


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