Green Book

Green Book Movie Review 2018: A Delightful Drive Around American Bigotry

CRITIC'S RATING    4.0/5
AVG READERS' RATING:    0.0/5
Movie Name
Green Book
DIRECTION
Peter Farrelly
GENRE
Biography , Comedy , Drama
DURATION
02 hours 10 minutes

Green Book Review


It must have been a really strange sight in the 60s, especially in the racist Southern states of America. The elegant man sitting regally in the back of the car is black. His chauffeur, a bit of an uncouth paunchy fellow, is white. So when they sail by, blacks, whites, everybody stares. An unimaginable reversal of roles but there it is.

When grand pianist Dr Don Shirley hires a chauffeur who can also take care of a few other things, Frank Anthony Vellalonga aliasTony Lip, a bouncer from a New York club who's temporarily out of work, is the right man. In New York, an Italian-American driving the Black American pianist doesn't raise an eyebrow. But, warns the cultured musician, he's on a concert tour in the deep South.

Besides being one of the most talented pianists who'll only play a Steinway which is in his contract, Shirley is formal, ethical, a rule-player. He picks up the phone, asks Tony's wife very formally if he may take her husband out on an eight-week tour.

For Tony, the price is right, so he agrees. Besides, he'd rather work for a law-abiding Black musician than all the White mobs who're willing to hire a useful man like him.

Road movies can be awfully dreary but this one's delightful as every stop throws up a new insight either into American bigotry or into the nature of Tony and Shirley. Although a friendship between the two men is prescribed, the route taken by director Peter Farrelly is entertaining even as it touches on disturbing reality like the pianist's hosts lauding his genius in the drawing hall but not allowing him to use the washroom in their house. There are bigoted cops too but Tony being a man from the streets of New York, handles them and gets Shirley out of many a sticky situation. In fact when they finally meet a cop on the snow-laden roads back to New York and he's actually there to help them, it's such a relief. But then this is also metaphorical as it's a return to an America that's less racist.

Green Book by the way was the travel guide for black motorists with tips on where they're welcome. A rather fitting title, I'd think.

The best part comes from the performances of Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali. Viggo as the somewhat uncultured, forever-eating bouncer-turned-chauffeur who'll casually toss stuff out of the car window but is basically a decent guy is in Oscar-winning form. Mahershala as the slightly stiff musician who handles bigotry with elegance but gradually learns to ease up has a lesser challenge. But he does make a great foil for Viggo and together, they have chemistry.


Analysis

    Direction
    4/5
  • Dialogues
    3.5/5
  • Story
    3.5/5
  • Music
    4/5
  • Screen Play
    4/5

The Verdict

For a well-told human story that also makes you chuckle,Green Book gets a 4* rating.


 

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