Cast: Tom Hanks (Paul Edgecomb), Michael Clarke Duncan (John Coffey), David Morse (Brutus Howell), James Cromwell (Warden Hal Moores), Sam Rockwell (Wild Bill Wharton, Michael Jeter (Eduard Delacroix), Doug Hutchison (Percy Wetmore)
Director: Frank Darabont
My rating: 9.5 / 10
Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks) walked the mile with a variety of cons. He had never encountered someone like John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan), a massive black man convicted of brutally killing a pair of young sisters. Coffey had the size and strength to kill anyone, but not the demeanor. Beyond his simple, naive nature and a deathly fear of the dark, Coffey seemed to possess a prodigious, supernatural gift.
What’s to Like:
The photography which draws you into the depression era 1930s Louisiana, USA. The themes of not catching a book by it’s cover. The possible workings of death row.
What’s not to Like:
This is one of my favourite all time movies, I remember being surprised when I first learned it was based on Stephen King novel who turns out a lot of poor novels.
The movie is laced with undertones of how perceptions can be so wrong and racism; the African American criminal, who is innocent, against the privileged white guard who suffers from small guy syndrome and is cruel. The protagonist of the film Paul Edgecomb is a good guy but he still fails to save a walking miracle and actually feels his long life is righteous punishment.
The music and scenery is amazing, the acting is first rate, not just Michael Clarke Duncan but Tom Hank and all the supporting cast, even the small role James Cromwell plays is great in this movie.
The movie is told in flashback as the memories of Paul as an old man, who is now in a retirement home. Which helps jump to the key scenes over a period of time, in particular showing how our protagonist Paul is struggling with a painful infection and suffering, too, because fellow junior guard Percy is like an infection in the ward with his inferiority complex.
The deliberately blotched execution of Eduard from the sadist Percy is horrifying and hard to watch but that’s nothing on the execution of John Coffey. The public witnesses hating John despite him being innocent of the alleged crimes, in fact his actions got justice for those killed girls, and the guards who knew he was a walking miracle struggling to keep it together and some tears forming. This execution scene is pure emotional overload.
- Best Picture – nominee
- Best Supporting Actor – Michael Clarke Duncan – nominee
- Best Writing – nominee
- Best Sound – nominee