The Green Mile

This review was originally written as part of my USA Road Trip series for French Toast Sunday.

Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks) was the head prison officer at Cold Mountain Penitentiary’s Death Row, known as the Green Mile, in 1935. Along with having a crippling urinary infection, Paul and his team of good men must also deal with their snivelling bastard of a colleague Percy Wetmore (Doug Hutchison), the governor’s wife’s only nephew, and the various inmates that come through their doors on the way to the execution chair. The most recent of whom, John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan), is a towering, muscle-bound mountain of a man, but with a simple, child-like mind, and something a little special about him that makes Paul doubt whether Coffey has any cause to be on the Mile at all.
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Apollo 13

In 1969, man landed on the moon. This man was not Tom Hanks’ Jim Lovell, then first reserve for Neil Armstrong, but later he was given his own shat at the big floating wheel of cheese aboard the ill-fated Apollo 13. Hanks displays his greatest talent of evermanisation in this film, managing to make even an astronaut seem like a regular Joe, suffering from everyday concerns with young kids and a daughter dressing inappropriately on Halloween, coupled with the hours of arduous practice and training required for his profession and the worrying endured by the families left behind. Director Ron Howard evokes the feel of the late 60s well – the excitement of new scientific endeavours coupled with the period details, fashions, chain smoking and news reports, and Hanks is well supported by Gary Sinise, Bill Paxton and Kevin Bacon as his fellow astronauts, Ed Harris as the waistcoat wearing mission control and Kathleen Quinlan’s distraught wife, the latter of the two were Oscar nominated for their roles.
Choose film 8/10

Forrest Gump

Forrest Gump is built on one man’s incredible journey through the key moments of recent American history, from landmark events like the Vietnam war and the Watergate scandal, to key figures of pop culture including Elvis Presley, John Lennon and several presidents. The seamless integration of Gump into archive footage subtly shows director Robert Zemeckis’ expansion on the technology he developed in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and the soundtrack is suitable epic too, especially during the war sequences. As with most films I’m very familiar with, it’s the small touches I like the most, for example the way Gump’s eyes are shut in every photo he’s in, including the lifesize cardboard cutouts used for advertising ping pong bats. Also, the way Zemeckis makes life harder for himself is admirable, such as the shot panning up from [spoiler] Lt. Dan’s new prosthetic leg to his face could have been accomplished much more easily by simply cutting from the leg to his face, yet instead complex CGI is used to mimic the leg on Gary Sinise’s body. Tom Hanks is of course the heart and soul of the film, fully rounding his simple Gump with only admirable qualities, producing a truly heartbreaking performance at times.


Choose film 9/10