I got up this morning already pumped to see this movie in hopes that it would be one of the biggies of the Christmas season. About 125 other folks had the same idea when they showed up at Tinseltown for the 11:00 am premier. I was the sixth car to arrive on the south side of Tinseltown's giant parking lot. Told you I was pumped. The next 30-40 days (mid Dec-Jan) historically is the season for the nomination-worthy film releases. Get ready. This movie is a masterpiece. Adapted from a book by Stephen King, writer and director Frank Darabont has earned himself a seat at the big show March '00.
And Tom Hanks is the Michael Jordan of the big screen. His performance is so powerful that he makes all around him play to a higher level. The entire cast turned in splendid performances. Perhaps five characters in this movie could receive my vote for best supporting actor which means that none of them might make it. Those worth mentioning are: David Morse ("St. Elsewhere"), Michael Clarke Duncan, James Cromwell, Sam Rockwell, Graham Greene, Doug Hutchison, Bonnie Hunt, Patricia Clarkson, Harry Dean Stanton, and Gary "Lt. Dan" Sinise.
1935 Louisiana death row. Prison guards wear full uniforms and ties and carry pistols and black jacks and they are not timid about using them. Paul Edgecomb (Hanks) is the head guard at Cold Mountain Prison E Block. This death row has lime colored tile, hence "The Green Mile." The small area where Edgecomb and the other guards must maintain order and the spirits of the condemned is the primary stage for the story. The character development is massive and effective. This is a time of the Great Depression and the electric chair ("Old Sparky') is still the top choice for execution. And the audience is not spared any details of death by electrocution which is administered by our five prison guards.
Those waiting for their turn in the chair are: Billy the Kid - a psychopath, Del - the Frenchman that befriends a mouse, and Paul Coffey - a giant of a man with mythical powers. Much love, death, forgiveness, revenge, redemption, violence, more death, hatred, gentleness, healing, blood, life, and atonement occur, but "...what happens on 'the mile' stays on the mile."
Hanks has done it again. Does he choose great scripts or make them great? Frank Darabont also directed "The Shawshank Redemption" which makes him the King of Prison Movies of the 90's. This movie will gross $20+ million during its opening weekend. Rock 'n Roll.