Green Book (2018) Review

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Based on a true story, Tony Lip an Italian-American bouncer becomes the driver of African-American classical pianist Dr. Don Shirley as he takes on a tour around the Southern parts of America in the 1960s.

Green Book refers to the travel book that coloured people in America had to follow in order to have a safer trip in the Deep South. Listing the places they are welcome to stay and eat, that was something I had no idea about when I first heard about this film. Tony Lip must use this book when driving Dr. Don Shirley to his different concerts. Sometimes they were able to stay in the same hotel and sometimes they were not. I think a film like this with race as its biggest plot is still so tough and difficult to watch at times.

We first see Tony Lip working in a club and keeping order, but we also see that he is a piece of work and not to be messed with. Not scared of anyone he will do what it takes to make some extra money. When the club has to close he must find another job and that is when he is recommended for the driver job for Dr. Don Shirley. He does not seem to have the best option of black people so that is something that will certainly change.

In an unlikely friendship and relationship both men end up teaching the other some very valuable life lessons and creating a unique view on the world and racial stereotypes. Especially with it being from the 1960s as well, things are different now (in most places hopefully) and it certainly shows how far people have come in terms of stopping to judge one another. As they spend the two months together it is great to see how they begin to understand the other a lot more, Tony cannot get why Don performs for the rich white people but eventually gets that he is trying to change opinions and views. Don also doesn’t understand why Tony likes to gamble and try to win money and taking things. It just shows that the way you are brought up influences the way you think. I really did love Tony’s reaction to seeing Don play the piano for the first time and how he really does become to appreciate and enjoy the music.

The thing you probably won’t expect with the film is the level of comedy, some of the moments are hilarious and that certainly does make for such good viewing from start to finish. The lines between the pair are so well put in and when you see the friendship really develop it is lovely to watch. Especially when you remember that this is based on a real life story and the two men were friends until they died within months of each other.

Performance wise Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali are both outstanding and bring out great moments for one another. Not that we should really be surprised as they are both very talented actors showing that they really can take on so many different roles. Especially seeing Viggo take on the Italian-American role that was something I really enjoyed. Personally for me the film was outstanding and had a little bit of everything rolled together and was an incredible film to see as a preview.

*This was Cineworld Secret Screening 10. The film is due for release in the UK on the 1st February 2019!

 

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