The Green Mile

Faithful, intelligent adaptation of the Stephen King story, with Tom Hanks as a guard on death row in a Southern prison during the 1930s and Michael Clarke Duncan as a new inmate who seems to possess healing powers. Adept combination of typical King elements: light humor, dark deeds, cute secondary stories (in this case, a mouse named Mr. Jingles), likeable, ordinary Joes caught up in extraordinary circumstances, and, of course, scenes of ghastly horror - you get to witness no less than three electric chair executions. (The story does make a good argument against the death penalty.) As expected from the man who gave us The Shawshank Redemption (which is practically a built-in companion piece to this film, due to their shared Stephen King pedigree and prison setting), there are fine performances throughout. The Green Mile is a little schmaltzy at times, but that tenderness is necessary to the rhythm of the story, and is certainly balanced out by the large amount of brutality. A long film that mostly breezes by.