The Green Mile


Just finished watching the Green Mile with my wife; both of us had wet eyes. I kept saying to her, "This is a good movie!" She got annoyed with that comment, but it really was a good movie.
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For a long time I've felt like it might be best to skip King movies and just read the books. The movies never "add up." However, having collected all the first editions I can get my hands on for the budget I have, I decided this Summer to collect the movies. Of course, they have no value, but since I am pretty unfamiliar with them I thought I might give them a try.
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The Green Mile is a favorite novel, so I came with low expectations for the movie. Kind of a sigh as I put the disk in: OKay, let's see what they screw up. But I think the movie was even better. Can that be? It can! The actors really made it happen.
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King released the book in installments, like Dicken's did his books. I remember the excitement of waiting for each segment; then getting behind and thinking: Fine, I'll just wait for the novel to come out all at once. It is powerful in both forms (print and screen).
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The movie does a good job of keeping the Hanks character in every scene. This is important because Hanks is telling the story (the book is also first person). Sometimes I get annoyed at movies where someone is telling a story, but I the viewer am given information or scenes they were not privy to.
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Frank Darabont directed this film, along with other King titles The Mist and The Shawshank Redemption. The movie is pretty loaded with well known names, but the real magic is with Hanks and Michael Clarke Duncan. The scene of Coffey's execution is powerful. The Guards are in tears as they surround their friend at his death. They seem to stand in such a way as to block his seeing the viewers who hate him.
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Connections to Christianity are unavoidable. As with the book, the links between John Coffey and Jesus Christ (J.C.) are noticeable.
  • Both are healers.
  • Both know mens hearts.
  • Both are killed by the state, though innocent.
  • Both die as their executioners admit their innocence.
  • Both must take carry another persons pain in order to heal them. With Coffey, he must bear their sickness for a period of time. With Chist he bore our sins.
  • Both are of a mistreated race for their time. Christ a first century Jew, Coffey a black during the depression.
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3 comments:

  1. Yes, the resemblances between John Coffey and Jesus Christ are unavoidable, but there are significant ways in which the two are not the same. John Coffey has the power to heal out of being a force of nature, specifically, the life force. He does not claim a relation to God or encourage prayer or a ritual with which to remember him by. Evil as opposed to a good life are the meaningful terms. God and prayer are fuzzy, and unnecessary. "The Green Mile" is a recasting the story of Christ in terms that are meaningful to secularized Americans. It is not simply a retelling. We believe that the life force is good; and evil is cruel. We don't understand prayer or sin. There is a wonderful scene where the Tom Hanks character tells his wife that he is afraid to stand before God if he does his duty and executes John Coffey. Notice the vague and tenuous nature of God and judgment as opposed to the undeniable facts of John Coffey's power to heal. The reason this movie is good is because it sticks to what it knows. John Coffey resembles Jesus Christ in outline but the meaningful terms in which each is to be understood are very different.

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  2. Mr Jingles is the embodiment of the Holy Spirit as well. I noticed all of the similarities the first time I watched to movie so many years ago. But there was no affirmative info at the time. Thank you for posting this :)

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  3. Mr Jingles is the embodiment of the Holy Spirit as well. I noticed all of the similarities the first time I watched to movie so many years ago. But there was no affirmative info at the time. Thank you for posting this :)

    ReplyDelete