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Warner Bros. Home Video presents
The Green Mile (1999)

"I tried to take it back in Boss."
- John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan)

Review By: Troy Lambert   
Published: August 03, 2000

Stars: Tom Hanks
Other Stars: David Morse, Michael Clarke Duncan, Bonnie Hunt, James Cromwell
Director: Frank Darabont

MPAA Rating: R for violence, language and some sex-related material
Run Time: 03h:13m:00s
Release Date: July 09, 2000
UPC: 053939257922
Genre: drama

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A+ A+AA- C

DVD Review

I guess it's a good thing that I hadn't had time to read thedetails of The Green Mile DVD prior to seeing it. Had I been so inclined, I may have developed preconceived notions about it, especially given the three hours-plus running time. But, make no mistake about it, this movie will eliminate all notions you have of the existence of time, and transports you into the lives of the characters involved within "the green mile."

The title comes in reference to the lime green tile that covered the prison corridorfloor. Set in the early 1930's, the story revolves around Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks), a supervisor on death row in a Louisiana State Prison. The movie begins by presenting us with Paul as an old man, who has taken refuge in a retirement home. He is unsettled and restless, and his distress comes to the attention of Eve (Elaine Connelly), one of his female friends. She gets Paul to confide in her, and he tells her the story that changed his life forever.

From here the movie just enwraps you with its presence, intertwining you within the lives of everyone who comes in contact with the 'Mile'. Director Frank Darabont (Shawshank Redemption) has done another excellent job of keeping the movie moving, keeping it interesting enough not to distract from the story itself. Accomplishing these feats is remarkable, given the movie's three-hour runtime. Darabont manages to take the audience on an emotional 'train ride,' not as wild as a roller-coaster, but a subtle, emotional wave, with results that are effective. The disgust and loathing you feeltowards Percy (Doug Hutchison), the repulsiveness and detest felt towards Wild Bill (Sam Rockwell), and the compassion and adoration you feel for John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan) and many others is a tribute to how well developed the characters are. Unlike many other films that attempt to develop a million and one things—losing the grand scheme of the movie itself—The Green Mile develops within.

The acting is top-notch—I have been nothing short of amazed at Tom Hanks' versatility as an actor (although there are a few times when his accent wears thin, suddenly resurfacing with a very snappy twang). He convincingly portrays his character, and one easily identifies and relates to all of his circumstances. Michael Clarke Duncan could not have delivered a better performance. I can't picture anyone else who could have portrayed his character with the tact and plausibility that he did—simply amazing. David Morse as Brutus "Brutal" Howell was also excellent, the type of supporting actor that helps strengthen the lead.

Typically, books-to-movie translations tend to lose a lot of 'oomph' that leaves audiences wanting, but this is not the case here. The screen adaptation is very well written and directed, holding the essence of the book intact. The cinematography is excellent, capturing the embodiment of both the prison and the era. Kudos to David Tattersall (Star Wars: Episode I—The Phantom Menace).

The Green Mile is one of those movies that seriously impresses itself into the reaches of one's mind AND entertains—all in one fell swoop. It doesn't get any better than this.

Rating for Style: A+
Rating for Substance: A+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: This has to be one of Warner Bros. best transfers. It is definitely a pleasure to see them present this in anamorphic widescreen format, as this picture deserves nothing less. The transfer here is very crisp, despite a bit of grainin some scenes, although I credit this to the source. Colors are impressive, with the slight hues being represented accurately (i.e. the lime green coating of the 'Mile'). Fleshtones are dead on and the black levels are definitely on target—surprising, as you might expect to see 'dark' scenes washed out in a prison movie.

This is an excellent print and one in which Warner should be proud.

Image Transfer Grade: A


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: The audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. Although you wouldn't expect muchactivity from the rears in this type of movie, I still expected more surround activity. The musical score and other subtle tones, however, do generate enough ambience. The rear speakers were used when approriate, as during the "Ol' Sparky" electrocution scenes or the lighting storm. The front soundstage is precise; dialogue was discernable and clear. I actually turned my receiver down and was still able to hear the dialogue clearly. Overall, this is an excellent audio transfer.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 53 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French with remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
Cast and Crew Filmographies
1 Original Trailer(s)
1 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Snapper
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual
Layers Switch: 01h:39m:16s

Extra Extras:
  1. Walking The Mile Documentary
  2. Theatrical trailer
  3. Actor/Actress biographies
Extras Review: Given the length of this movie I can why Warner Bros. did not include many additional features, but with the recent slew of special edition two-disc sets or DVD-18 capabilities, the lack of extras here doesn't fly! The Walking the Mile documentary is fine for what it's worth (all 10 minutes of it), but sincethis is a great movie—an Oscar® winner, I would have expected more.

The featurette included some behind-the-scenes interviews with director Darabont, Stephen King and some of the cast, but is rather short in length. It's not bad, but it's not good either.

There is also the typical fare of page-long actor bios and filmographies.

Also included is the original theatrical trailer.

Overall, the extras were a let down.

Extras Grade: C


Final Comments

This is an excellent movie that I'd recommend for anyone to see at least once (if you haven't already). All-star performances coupled with an excellent DVD (disregarding the lack of supplements) will allow you to get lost in The Green Mile.


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