The Green Mile


I smell me some cornbread.

From The Green Mile, 1999

The movie opens with Paul Edgecomb who is an old man in a retirement home. Paul and the other residents sit down to watch a movie but Paul sheds a tear when he sees it and has to walk away. His friend Elaine notices that he is sad and asks him to talk to her. Paul opens up to Elaine and tells her his story. Years ago during the Depression, he was a prison guard in charge of Death Row that was called The Green Mile due to the color of the flooring that leads to the electric chair. Paul’s most vivid memory happened in 1935 and we then see a flashback to 1930.

We learn that Paul is suffering from a urinary tract infection. A new inmate named John Coffey arrives on death row for raping and killing two young girls. Although he is a big, muscular man, when Paul speaks to him he is meek and is also afraid of the dark. At the same time a guard named Percy Wetmore is removed from working on Death Row and is sent to work somewhere else. It transpires that Percy is a nephew of the governor’s wife and he has applied for a post as administrator at a mental hospital but he wishes to see an execution before he moves on. Meanwhile, another inmate by the name of Eduard Delecroix, finds a mouse and names it Mr Jingles. He tries to tame the mouse and the other guards allow him to keep it as a pet.

Warden Hal and Paul meet up and Paul is told that a new inmate will be joining them; William Wharton who has killed three people. The warden breaks down as he reveals that his wife has a tumor on her brain. Paul’s infection is gradually getting worse and he plans to visit the doctor the next day. When the new inmate is brought in he causes some problems and ends up hurting Paul in the groin. John Coffey asks to speak with Paul and when he approaches John’s cell, John places his hand on Paul’s groin and a bright light shines. Spores come from John’s mouth and he starts to cough. When asked what happened, he just said that he helped. Paul’s infection was cured. Delecroix’s execution rehearsal is set for the following day and Paul allows Percy to over see it, hoping that he will then leave. Mr. Jingles (the mouse) runs across the room and Percy cruelly steps on it. John Coffey asks that Paul hand him the mouse and Paul does so; a light shone from John’s hands and spores came from his mouth when he coughed and the mouse was as good as new.

At the trial execution, Delecroix hands over Mr. Jingles to Paul knowing that he will take care of him. The execution goes terribly wrong as Percy didn’t sufficiently wet the sponge to enable proper electric conduction and Delecroix dies. Paul and his wife pay a visit to the warden and his wife and they see how unwell she is. Paul invites the other guards to dinner and tells them all about how John cured his infection and resurrected the mouse, and that he wants to sneak John out of the prison in order to try and heal the warden’s wife. The guards are unsure but the plan goes ahead the next day. They drug Wharton and gag Percy and on the way out Wharton grabbed John and John is horrified by what he senses – it was Wharton who raped and murdered the two little girls that he was convicted of doing. At the warden’s house, John goes upstairs to Melinda. John puts his face close to hers and something passes from her mouth to his and the whole room lights up. John coughs but he is unable to release the spores and Melinda sits up in the bed, apparently fine. Back at the prison John is still unwell and he reveals that he feels the pain of those around him and says that he does not want to go on. He watches the movie we see at the beginning and is then put to sleep.

The Green Mile is based on the novel by Stephen King, which narrates about the life of prison guards assigned at the death row. Written and directed by Frank Darabont, who also is responsible for the previously successful movie, the Shawshank Redemption also based on Stephen Kings novel. The cast is lead by Tom Hanks as Paul Edgecombe, (the main character, who narrates the story) the head guard of the Green Mile, who treats people on both sides with humanity. Four other guards’ works with him at the penitentiary; his best friend played by David Morse as Brutus Howell, a gentle natured man; Dough Hutchison as Percy Wetmore, a coward and sadistic guard to the inmates waiting for their sentence. Michael Clarke Duncan, plays the role of the new inmate at the penitentiary named John Coffey, where the plot of the story will evolved.

The story unfolds primarily within the confines of the penitentiary and was told entirely in a flashback by Paul Edgecombe, who at the time was also suffering from a renal problem and was healed by John Coffey, a quiet, surprisingly docile giant of a man who was convicted of murdering and raping two little girls. As the association between Edgecombe and Coffey went on, Paul Edgecombe had discovered that Coffey has a miraculous gift and realizes that something extremely unusual could be happening to the Green Mile, and soon begun to question the conviction of murder for John Coffey; for he can see that John is a virtuous innocent man with a tender soul.

The story of the film may appear to be surprisingly simple, but when one is already taken into the depths of the movie there are a lot of key points that keeps audience astounded and enthralled until the very end of the film. The events of the film are very affecting and dramatic with tear jerking scenes that will keep anyone from even blinking the tears away so as not to miss a single scene on the film. The execution scenes are also very graphic one cannot help but feel heaviness of the heart during scenes of executions; it graphically depicts how one suffers cruelty even at the very end of his execution; one can even imagine how a walk to a death row can seem very long and tragic to the convicted and his family on video.

The theme of the story; miracles do happen where essayed on the film when one believes that it can really happen. The performances of the characters were all in tune with one another; that’s why the movie develops into a spectacle of talents that brings glory to the story and the film. Tom Hanks perfectly fitted the role of Paul Edgecombe; he helps ease the film into a narrative mode in mens undergarments. Duncan is the biggest revelation; for his portrayal of the meek giant miraculous healer, he was able to tap the deepest part of his heart to come out with such dept of emotions. A very moving story that will keep anyone who had seen it extremely occupied by the events on the film. The Green Mile held the audience on an emotional level long after the film have ended; this is more than reason enough to recommend the film for what it is worth.

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