by Hans A. Carpenter
Release Date: November 16, 2018
MPAA: R Director: Peter Farrelly
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, and Linda Cardellini
Mister Marquee Says: Good Picture
In the 1950s, Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen) is a bouncer at the Copacabana in New York. While the club is closed for renovations, he takes a job as driver and body guard for pianist Doctor Don Shirley, a renowned black concert pianist on a tour of the deep South.
Green Book isn’t revolutionary. I don’t know that it lives up to the hype of it’s Best Picture win. It’s definitely a good movie, but is it that good? I don’t think so. It’s more a good picture than best picture. That being said, Green Book is a solid story of friendship and definitely worth a watch. Green Book’s biggest strength is its leads, Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali, who have tremendous chemistry. In a movie entirely focused on the relationship of these two men, that is a must.
Ali and Mortensen feel like real people, and that human element is that on which Green Book hangs its hat. The dialog is clever, and enough to carry many scenes of Tony and Dr. Shirley alone in the car. Two guys sitting in a car and going into hotels, no matter how much tension from personality clashes or racial clashes in the Jim Crow South, couldn’t survive without clever, snappy dialog. The acting is great, and the dialog gets the job done. Otherwise, the narrative, the cinematography, the editing, it’s all solid but hardly remarkable. Green Book would be an easy movie to forget if not for the blue-collar charm of Mortensen’s Tony and the gravitas of Ali’s Dr. Shirley. These fantastic performances raise a fairly run-of-the-mill feel-good story to something more.