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Interesting to watch this film another time. I am not sure whether I’ve seen it more than one time, actually, but all the images are very clear and present in my memory. Part of this owes to the brilliance and the special circumstances of the 6-installment novel which kept me eager over half a year back when it was published (I seem to remember that I was not utterly pleased with the book when it was published, but oddly enough in retrospect I find it thrilling and clearly on the list of "Better King Books").  The other aspect is the sheer brilliance of the movie, and of every single actor involved in particular. Tom Hanks, of whom I am not a big fan, and whose movies tend to be a bit over-professionalised and unpersonal Holywwod-machinery output (Apollo 13, Private Ryan, Castaway… all a bit too big. And I loathe Forrest Gump.). But here I find him (or maybe rather his character Paul Edgecomb, whom he represents brilliantly) excitedly human, humble and tough at the same time, exactly the right combination of features necessary for this more dodgy of professions (death row warden and electric chair operator). And at his side there are brilliant faces such as huge Michael Clarke Duncan as John Coffey, David Morse as Brutal or Barry Pepper as Dean (whom I love since "25th Hour", because he has this very pleasant un-Hollywood look about his face). Maybe Wild Bill Wharton (played by Zaphod Beeblebrox, no what’s his name? Sam Rockwell) is a bit over the top, but after all he was written that way and the story benefits from a wild man who rips the omnipresent peace and melancholy out of the inmates’ and wardens’ hearts. Same applies to Percy Wetmore (Doug Hutchison), who needs to be really nasty, and that’s what he delivers. And every film is worth watching that has Harry Dean Stanton in it, just to mention that.

I have no clue how Frank Darabont managed to get together this amazing cast, him being mainly a director of tv shows and movies. And I am equally lost at how he holds this huge story of humanity and evil together. Part of the success is surely that he takes the time of more than 3 hours to establish the hot and steamy Summer atmosphere, the human interrelations on death row, these very Stephen King moments with Mr Jingles, the mouse, enchating all personae, wardens and prisoners alike, with its little miracles. Maybe nobody ever told this tv director that for the Big Screen, you have to economise on narrative time, so he did not give a damn, and the story deserves this generous use of screen time. This seriously looks like a director who is up for more, but strangely, there has not been much since. But "The Mist" has been announced, and I am looking forward to what he does to this story of claustrophobia, of being lost in the dark (or greyish-white, rather), and how he avoids the traps a story about monsters in the mist and dinosaur-like creates from other worlds is likely to pose.

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