||Very intense, and very chilling. The
acting was top-notch, and the story was wonderfully told. But I don't
think I could watch this movie again.
Maybe the subject matter is just too
intense. The shot of one of the prisoners frying to death through the
stupidity of one of the guards, had me saying enough was enough. Did it
go on for too long? Yes. But it was supposed to.
I really liked the guards, as I was
supposed to. They were really human, in an inhumane world. The only
friends they had were each other, really, and people like them, because
how could they relate to anybody else? They can't even talk about their
work to each other, as evidenced by the terrific expressions at the
picnic table when Paul brings up the resuscitated mouse -"I could have
gone the rest of the day without you bringing that up..." Indeed!
Paul was the greatest -even under
extreme stress, his urinary tract infection, and a hyper inmate, he kept
his calm. The other one was the person we loved to hate. He had such
antipathy towards everybody and everything that it was easy to do so. I
loved the way he got obsessed about the mouse and cleared the storeroom
for a second time to find it! And we aren't too sad to see him meet his
"end" (as far as the audience is concerned), either.
For we begin to identify with the
prisoners, too. Most of them grew sympathetic as their time drew near.
They grew sorry for their crimes, whatever they may have been. And by
the time they went to the electric chair, I think most of the guards
knew that they had suffered enough, and shouldn't be put to death.
There was one exception, of course.
"Billy the Kid" was fun to watch, just to see how much he could get away
with, and what his punishment would be. I think he managed to hit
everybody with something, whether it was urine or chocolate (?) or spit,
or something. It was a pleasure to see him meet his early end,
especially afterwards, when we see what he had actually done.
But it is John Coffey, the giant of a
man, who really steals the show. He is so gentle, that we know right
away it must have been a mistake. I loved his prescience about Billy
-"be careful". And the special effects when he discharges the infection,
revives the mouse, and removes the tumor were creepy and extremely
Of all the inmates Paul had ever seen
die, I think John was the only one that he really grew to love. Of
course we know that John was trying to revive the two girls using
his gift, that he
didn't rape and kill them. And so it is natural for Paul
to offer him a release -to escape, if he could. But John's answer is the
best one -he is not stupid, and he knows his life will end, and with it
a very powerful force for good. But his gift comes with a price, the
ability to empathize with every mind that comes his way, and he is happy
to be done with it.
At first, I was not sure why the
writers had given us bookends to the movie. But after a bit of thought,
and the closing monologue, I think it was a brilliant stroke. It shows
us that Paul did indeed have to pay a price for killing John Coffey. For
ridding the world of such a wonderful gift, he had to live for a long
time, even after growing weary of the world. Sacrifice is the key to
this great story, and Paul's is not an obvious one.
Of course Mr. Jangles the mouse didn't
do anything wrong, and he got to grow very old as well, probably more
weary of the world than Paul was!
Even before knowing that the director
and author were the same as for The Shawshank Redemption, I could tell.
The style, the tight writing, and the no-nonsense characters and plot
were all the same. Every scene meant something, and said it in a way
that was meaningful. It felt right, and it was wonderful to see these
characters revel in it.