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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » The Green Mile
The Green Mile
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Review by Aaron Beierle | posted June 2, 2000 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
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The Movie:

"The Shawshank Redemption" was and still is, something I will always remember. Walking out of that theater, I still remember being stunned at how moving and well-acted that picture was. It still sits in my memory, a picture that I continue to call one of the best I've seen in my life. When I heard that "Shawshank" director Frank Darabont was going to direct another Stephen King prison picture, I wondered how it could compare to "Shawshank". I never did catch "Green Mile" in theaters, but as I sat and watched it on this DVD release, I was sorry I had missed it.

I have not read the story by Stephen King before watching the film, so I'm not sure of the differences. But the story as it is in the film revolves around a number of characters that are, as with any King tale, well-written and fully realized. The main character is Paul Edgecomb(Tom Hanks), the head prison guard - his crew includes Brutus Howell(the great David Morse); the rest of the characters include a brutal guard named Percy(Doug Hutchinson) and the new inmate named John Coffey(Michael Clarke Duncan) who may not be what he seems.

Duncan, who was previously seen in films like "Armageddon", does an extremely impressive job with the character, a tall, quiet man who was convicted of a brutal crime. Hanks does a fine job in the role of the head guard, bringing strong emotion to the role. It's really an amazing thing for an actor as widely known as Tom Hanks to dissapear into a role this well; for three hours, I have to give Hanks this compliment: he's not "Tom Hanks"; he really does become Paul Edgecomb.

Yes, "The Green Mile" does go on at about three hours in length. There are some moments here and there that could have been edited out, but I'm not complaining too loudly. Like "The Shawshank Redemption", "The Green Mile" makes the slow pace of life in prison involving; it's due to a combination of an extremely solid cast, a well-written tale, and a director who knows not only pacing, but how to work with great characters.

The power that Darabont is able to bring out from this tale is stunning; every moment of the three hours is gripping. Hanks and Duncan are certainly the highlights, but Darabont has brought together a fine supporting cast as well. He's lucky to have them...and they're lucky to have him.


The DVD

VIDEO: This is one of the best efforts that Warner Brothers has ever done, in my opinion. It's not razor sharp, but I think that was intentional to the picture. The image achieves a smoothness that is entirely pleasing and very "film-like" in nature. Colors are perfect - very natural and perfectly saturated, with no problems at all. Flesh tones are natural and clear, and faults on this transfer...well, there really aren't any.

Aside from a tiny trace of grain here and there, there are literally no problems to be found in this picture, which is very close to being simply flawless. David Tattersal("Star Wars: Episode 1")'s cinematography is wonderful, and the DVD provides a perfect presentation for it.

SOUND: "The Green Mile" is, of course, not an agressive film when it comes to audio. But, it is a finely crafted one in this area. As expected, the surrounds are not used intensely, but they are used effectively when they're called for. The Thomas Newman score is smoothly and effectively integrated into the listening environment, wrapping the viewer in an at times very emotional and at times light score. Although the audio is dialogue-driven at times, it comes alive and becomes intense when needed. Dialogue is clear and nicely integrated. This is a fine and enjoyable presentation, subtle and well-done.

MENUS:: An animated clip leads us nicely into menus that are subtle and well-done. The score plays out softly in the background, and the menus work well in introducing the viewer to the tone of the movie.

EXTRAS: Let's be fair about this. When you have a movie that's about three hours, you don't have room for much else, but Warner has still provided a couple of very additional features.

"Walking The Mile": This is a very moving and enjoyable 10 minute documentary that really lets the viewer into and below the surface of the production. Many people, including Darabont, King , the producer of the film and others give their insights on both the picture and the story in general, and their comments are very informative. Comments about the casting and history of the movie are put together with footage from the production at work. I really wish that this could have been a longer feature - I really liked hearing from the cast and crew about the making of "The Green Mile".

Also: Theatrical trailer and cast/crew bios.

Final Thoughts: "The Green Mile" is better than I'd expected, and Warner has done a excellent job on the DVD - the picture quality is almost flawless, and the audio quality is very good, as well.

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