Video Picks Archive
Reviews by Matt Heffernan <email@example.com>
This week my picks are The Green Mile (1999 - ) and The Shawshank Redemption (1994 - ).
The first film this week was the latest in a series of critical and financial
successes for Tom Hanks. In The Green Mile, he plays a Death Row warden
in the South whose life is changed by an inmate (Michael Clarke Duncan) with
supernatural powers. Frank Darabont adapted Stephen King's serial novel into
a fine film that, despite its sizable running length, tells a moving story with
compelling images. The performances are a real highlight, especially Duncan's, which
earned an Academy Award nomination. Darabont's
screenplay was also nominated, along with the sound and the film itself, for Best
Picture. It came away empty-handed in the wake of
American Beauty and
The Cider House Rules, but still
remains a favorite for many people.
Darabont's first major feature film was also a King adaptation, but its success took longer to achieve. Based on the novella Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption from the collection Different Seasons (which also included the bases for Stand By Me and Apt Pupil), The Shawshank Redemption (a mercifully shortened title, but still too difficult to remember) stars Tim Robbins as a banker who is wrongly convicted of killing his wife. He is sent to the hauntingly gothic Shawshank Prison in Maine, where he spends his many years trying to free at least the minds of his fellow prisoners, including Red (Morgan Freeman), who has been there most of his life. It is an intense look at the harshness of the world, as seen through the microcosm of a prison. Few films have really touched me on the level that this one has, so that's why I ranked it #3 my top ten films of the 1990s. This film was also nominated for several Oscars, including Best Actor (Freeman) and Best Picture, but had to contend with the juggernaut of Forrest Gump. That's why Darabont was smart enough to get Hanks on his side the second time around.
For more information, visit the Internet Movie Database:
The Green Mile (1999)
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
Guide to Star Ratings
Capsule Reviews © 2000 Matt Heffernan