This fabulous story is set in Louisiana State Prison, during the 1930's, and The Green Mile, Cellblock E is what the inmates and prison officers refer to as death row. Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks) is the senior prison guard of this wing and controls this department with compassion; a startlingly different approach considering the legendary cruelty, terror and brutality of southern prisons. Within the cellblock E, Paul Edgecomb is joined by men, who all share his same philosophy and values; that these prisoners in the end await the most disturbing punishment that justice can serve, the Death Penalty. Why make their stay any more uncomfortable? The all-star cast contains David Morse, Barry Pepper, Bonnie Hunt, Michael Clarke Duncan, James Cromwell, Michael Jeter, Doug Hutchinson, and Harry Dean Stanton.
Directed by the same Director that gave us " The Shawshank Redemption", Frank Darabont completed an extraordinary double with this movie. Both movies underscore the storyline of prison life and both are written by Stephen King. Darabont's great direction highlighted the clear sense that all involved in the production knew that they were dealing with something special, and the final results speak for themselves. It's a movie, packed full of high drama, a respectable helping of suspense, and some generally moving sequences. The casting is superb - every actor is perfectly suited for his role and does an outstanding job, although there are many characters in this film it would be difficult to single out any individual performance. Many of the characters are complex, some are truly outstanding and each one of them has sufficient time to display their intricacies. There are times when the storyline runs without dialogue, so watch out for little subtleties of face, eyes and body language coming from all the actors, another tribute of great acting. This is evident in the opening sequence and remains throughout. The story also finds a way to slide in a message in what has to be one of the most gruesome deaths ever seen in a movie, but at the same time it manages to not moralize. It's not hard to perceive that this movie is probably against the death penalty, but I think it displays the subject without skirting around the outside perimeter.
The length is about three hours and it seems that critics have complained about that fact. The length is needed to tell this story the way it should be told, and the story is so very engrossing.
I can assure you, the film never drags and is never monotonous, and it certainly never feels that degree of time has passed. The camerawork is outstanding, cast magnificent and direction faultless. The Green Mile is a masterpiece of filmmaking and a fascinating character driven story, finally entertainment . . . . . . . . At it's very best.