So, gripping mystical tale of execution and redemption on Death Row or overambitious melodrama with a hokey ending? Critics were divided when Frank Darabont’s The Shawshank Redemption follow-up came out – everyone was hoping for Red’n’Andy: The Return – but watch The Green Mile now, with the benefit of seven years’ worth of hindsight, and it’s hard not to be moved. Yes, even by the flipping mouse.
Oddly, for a film with such a grim subtext (it’s essentially a Christ allegory), this two-disc Special Edition boasts a light-hearted selection of extras, surely an indication of a good time had by all during filming. Almost the entire surviving cast return for interviews in the new Miracles And Mysteries Making Of (Look! It’s Tom Hanks with The Da Vinci Code hair!), while Darabont really goes for broke on the gab-track, which is loaded with on-set anecdotes (mouse wrangling, Hanks’ love of old typewriters) and much, much more.
He stops to pull out his mobile phone and ring up the special-effects guy, to quiz him about where a prosthetic head came from, and to chase up the DVD producer about some lost deleted scenes. Then, over the end credits, he starts explaining the mechanics of doing the commentary. Apparently it took him around five months, on and off. It was worth every charming, self-deprecating, hugely informative second.