Movie Review #863 GREEN BOOK.
This year’s Best Movie Oscar winner is an excellent essay on separatism based in 1962 deep south of America. Having not 20yrs before defeated the last of Nazi anti-semitism, America still struggles with its own racial issues as New York club bouncer Tony ‘Lip’ Vallelonga is hired to drive African-American concert pianist ‘Doc’ Don Shirley through a two month tour across locations sure to stir southern sentiments.
Tony is on the edges of the mob & the Doc a musical artisan who doesn’t fit in to either the black or white worlds so with the Driving Miss Daisy reversal, the initial friction continues to parlay, exacerbated by Tony’s uncouth outlook sparring with the Doc’s refinement.
But, as with all Hollywood buddy outings, events transpire to bring the chaps together, both saving each other’s bacon a few times and finally understanding why each is as they are.
The symbolism of the green book in the title is quite subtle and not a key fixture of the proceedings however when Doc experiences a number of other prejudices, it’s brought nicely into perspective.
Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali are both superb in the lead saddles, the former particularly effective as an Italian slouch while Ali is reminiscent of Eddie Murphy’s Prince Akeem in Coming To America. And the music is to die for; a beautiful blend of classical and jazz nicely rendered on piano, cello & double bass.
As thought provoking as it is entertaining, for me it’s a 9/10.
I'm a movie nut from way back with my first ever being The Hallelujah Trail from 1964. Ever since, I've been mesmerized by the giant screen, and the darkness that went on forever. Despite the infernally uncomfortable seats, (plus having to stand for God Save the Queen), I've been enticed ever since to duck into a theatre whenever I can for a few hours of escapism.