Green Book Movie Review - Delightfully Colourful
Both Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali ace their roles. Their crafty precision lends nuance and pathos to the interactions and the humour that springs forth is also quite rousing.
U/A: Biography, Comedy, Drama
Director: Peter Farrelly
Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellini, Sebastian Maniscalco
A world class African American virtuoso pianist Dr. Don Shirley( Mahershala Ali) gets a tough-talking Italian bouncer, Tony 'Lip' Vallelonga(Viggo Mortensen) as driver cum bodyguard for a concert tour into the Deep South in 1962 - in an era where racism and segregation are the norm. It's a sort of 'Driving Miss Daisy' mixed up with 'The King's Speech' and the resultant is a delightfully colourful road trip that forges grudging acceptance and respect for each other's point of view. Getting a white man to play the employee to the Black man's employer is a sort of formula in itself - A mismatched buddy set forced together by circumstances beyond their control. They are from opposite backgrounds, have contrasting personalities and their getting thrown together under unusual circumstances delivers the kind of volatility the makers were looking for.
The storyline has a true story as its basis and gives us yet another insight into race relations during that turbulent period in American history. The narrative has an old-fashioned feel to it. While the duo get going on their tour we are exposed to the fragile glossy veneer of civility that hides the deep seated racial animosity that bubbles up at inopportune moments. The Green Book( titular reference) is a sort of directory that lists hotels and establishments where the coloured are made welcome. As the two travellers venture deeper into the south they encounter situations where the employee because of his skin colour is made more welcome than the virtuoso pianist. Such are the ironies of racial discrimination. The narrative glides smoothly while touching upon complex, emotive issues – making the journey involving and affecting. This is in fact a sentimental journey where injustices are understood and prejudices overcome.
Watch the trailer here:
Both Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali ace their roles. Their crafty precision lends nuance and pathos to the interactions and the humour that springs forth is also quite rousing. Tony's son, Nick has been credited as co-writer for the wonderfully sublime script alongside Peter Farrelly and Brian Hayes Currie. While Mortensen and Ali are known performers and were expected to give Oscar worthy performances the surprise element here is Peter Farelly whose earlier credits as co-director with his brother were Something about Mary, Shallow Hal, Dumb and Dumber. This is his first solo directorial outing and he makes it distinctive and heartfelt!
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