The Green Mile, directed by Frank Darabont in 1999 tells the story of inmate John Coffey living on death row. Narrated by The Mile’s head corrections officer Paul Edgecomb, The Green Mile explores themes of supernatural healing power and death explored on The Mile through the use of various film techniques.
John Coffey, a gigantic African-American man, is convicted of raping and murdering two little girls and sentenced to death. However, once arriving on The Green Mile, John Coffey begins to show signs of a supernatural ability, the power of healing. This healing power is first seen when John cures Paul’s urinary infection. As John grabs Paul through the cell bars, claiming he “just wants to help,” the light above his cell turns on and begins to shine brightly and non-diegetic whimsical music builds and the camera zooms in on Paul’s horrified face. The light shatters as John drops Paul and coughs up hundreds of small parasites, symbolising Paul’s cured infection. Darabont continues to utilise film techniques as John’s healing abilities increase. When another inmates pet mouse, Mr Jingles, gets stepped on by Percy, a sadistic prison guard, John states, “Give him to me, might still be time”. Coffey takes Mr Jingles into his hands and as the music builds, John begins to heal the mouse as he blows life back into him. Darabont again utilises light to symbolise healing and a blinding heavenly light grows between John’s hands as he continues to heal Mr Jingles. As the music reaches its peak, John jolts back and again coughs up hundreds of parasites. In John’s final healing scene, he heals a lady’s brain tumour. As this is ...
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...e Green Mile as brutal and he utilises film techniques such as diegetic sounds of the squealing electric chair and the cries of the inmate, the bright light symbolising death is near and the dialogue to help portray their deaths.
Frank Darabont’s The Green Mile explores the contrasting themes of healing and death and portrays them through film techniques such as light and sound. John Coffey’s healing abilities are shown through magical sounding music and a heavenly glowing light and non-diegetic rushing wind sound effects. Much like the supernatural healing shown in the movie, the theme of death is also portrayed through film techniques such as lights growing brighter as their death approach and diegetic sounds of the inmates heavy panicked breathing, a clock ticking, the electrical current squealing through the chair and the dying cries and grunts of the inmates.
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