Green Mile [1999]

"The book was better" has been the complaint of many a reader since the invention of movies. Frank Darabont's second adaptation of a Stephen King prison drama (The Shawshank Redemption was the first) is a very faithful adaptation of King's serial novel. In the middle of the Depression, Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks) runs death row at Cold Mountain Penitentiary. Into this dreary world walks a mammoth prisoner, John Coffey (Michael Duncan) who, very slowly, reveals a special gift that will change the men working and dying (in the electric chair, masterfully and grippingly staged) on the mile . As with King's book, Darabont takes plenty of time to show us Edgecomb's world before delving into John Coffey's mystery. With Darabont's superior storytelling abilities, his touch for perfect casting, and a leisurely 188-minute running time, his movie brings to life nearly every character and scene from the novel. Darabont even improves the novel's two endings, creating a more emotionally satisfying experience. The running time may try patience, but those who want a story, as opposed to quick-fix entertainment, will be rewarded by this finely tailored tale. --Doug Thomas

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