Monday, 27 June 2011
The Green Mile (5 Stars)
Let me state for the record that I'm not a fan of Stephen King's books. I discovered Clive Barker first and didn't read a single Stephen King novel until I'd read all of Barker's books. In comparison they seemed very lightweight and unsatisfying. It was like a man who's used to steak eating his first slice of tinned ham. I would go as far as to say that I don't understand why King is more popular than Barker. Maybe it's for that very reason. King's style is light, easy reading, whereas Barker is heavy and "classical" in his approach.
Stephen King has certainly made an impression on cinema. He is the author who holds the record for the most of his books (and short stories) having been filmed. A recent issue of Empire magazine listed about 50 of his films. I wish I hadn't thrown it away, I was too diligent in my cleaning up. His stories certainly make good films. "Carrie" and "The Shining" are icons of film history. "The Green Mile" rates just as highly, in my opinion. Three hours long and never boring for a single minute.
I expect most of my readers have already seen the film, so I'll keep my review brief. It's a departure from King's older horror stories, although it has a supernatural element. It's a prison drama set in the Depression era. The 1930's? Tom Hanks plays the head of a prison's death row. He has an unusual inmate, a simple minded man, and he immediately begins to doubt he's guilty of the crime that he has been accused of. All the characters in this film, the good guys and the bad guys, are rich believable characters, like broad strokes in a painting.
There's one small point that I consider an anachronism. Percy is shown reading an erotic comic about someone called "Miss Lotta Leadpipe". Comics like this didn't exist in the 1930's. The first comics featuring female domination were printed in the late 1940's, the most popular artists being Gene Bilbrew and Eric Stanton. I have no explanation why female domination as an artform appeared at this particular point in history; it would make a good subject for a doctoral thesis.
But sorry for that, I'm always picking on minor matters. Call me pedantic if you must. The truth is that this is a great film, one of the best I've ever seen. If you've never seen it, please watch it, you won't be disappointed.