Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.
Beautifully filmed story that never really achieves what it’s going after. Tom Hanks gives a kindly and powerful performance as a prison warden in the death-row cellblock of a Southern jail whose world is rocked by the latest addition to the family of cellmates: a giant-size simpleton (Michael Clarke Duncan) accused of murdering two young girls. This hulking mass of humanity is tough looking but afraid of the dark and loneliness and upon even closer examination, it appears he has magical healing powers that cure Hanks’ bladder infection and resuscitate a dead mouse. The sound design and photography are so absolutely perfect in this movie that it’s such a shame that the story is never really about anything: the miraculous nature of this man never actually changes the other characters around him since they’re all such great guys (Hanks and David Morse as his colleague are practically candy-stripers), and the only bad guy (a cartoonish villain played by Doug Hutchison) ends up beyond any kind of helpful influence. Still, for such a hollow movie it does manage successfully to distract you for three whole hours, and the sequence involving Patricia Clarkson is fantastic.
Screenplay by Frank Darabont, based on the novel by Stephen King
Cinematography by David Tattersall
Produced by Frank Darabont, David Valdes
Music by Thomas Newman
Production Design by Terence Marsh
Costume Design by Karyn Wagner
Film Editing by Richard Francis-Bruce