Director: Peter Farrelly
Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellini
Release Date: March 12, 2019
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 10/10
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
Academy Award® nominee for his roles in Captain Fantastic and Eastern Promises, Viggo Mortensen, and Academy Award® winner for Moonlight, Mahershala Ali, star in Green Book, a film inspired by a true friendship that transcended race, class, and the 1962 Mason-Dixon line. When Tony Lip (Mortensen), a bouncer from an Italian-American neighborhood in the Bronx, is hired to drive Dr. Don Shirley (Ali), a world-class Black pianist, on a concert tour from Manhattan to the Deep South, they must rely on The Green Book to guide them to the few establishments that were then safe for African-Americans. Confronted with racism, danger as well as unexpected humanity and humor—they are forced to set aside differences to survive and thrive on the journey of a lifetime.
‘Green Book’ accompanies hard working family man Tony Lip (Mortensen) in 1962. A man who always gives his all but still finds it a constant struggle to keep his family provided for, when Tony’s steady job as a bouncer leaves him with a two month hiatus due to necessary renovations he ends up being offered the temporary job of driver for a talented African American pianist named Dr. Don Shirley (Ali) for a two month tour reaching into the Deep South. Now, in addition to driving the doc around, he must also assist in keeping things running smoothly thanks to his knack for subtly handling unforeseen problems. But as the racist practices and unfair rules which were so common in the Deep South begin to push the buttons of both men, a new friendship is born.
Directed by Peter Farrelly (Kingpin, There’s Something About Mary) from a screenplay he additionally co-wrote with Nick Vallelonga (Deadfall) and Brian Currie (Two Tickets To Paradise), Farrelly does a wonderful job at the helm of ‘Green Book’ guiding along this powerful and moving tale with care. The film also owes a huge amount of credit to the talented individuals that comprise the cast which includes Viggo Mortensen (A History of Violence), Mahershala Ali (Moonlight), Linda Cardellini (The Founder), Sebastian Maniscalco (Tag), Dimiter D. Marinov (Act of Valor), Mike Hatton (Vigilante Diaries) and more, the majority offering highly capable performances in each of their respective roles, with Mortensen and Ali not only both at top form, but with an onscreen chemistry that truly sparks and really helps this film to work so perfectly.
‘Green Book’ is a magnificent film that’s moving and beautiful, not to mention powerful and even frequently quite hilarious. Often exuding a surprisingly lighthearted nature, although unafraid to tackle some important issues along the way and always handling them with care, while still finding a way to quickly build back into the more heartwarming and humorous aspects within and never making those transitions feel unnatural or forced. Peter Farrelly does a magnificent job guiding along this moving tale, impressively branching out from his more familiar comedy outings as ‘The Farrelly brothers’ alongside his brother Bobby Farrelly who together directed various popular comedy films over the years ( including ‘There’s Something About Mary’ and ‘Dumb and Dumber’ just to name a couple) and Peter Farrelly’s guidance at the helm of ‘Green Book’ is tremendously complimented by a stellar cast led by Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali who work together perfectly and each deliver phenomenal performances. I would strongly urge anyone that’s already even the tiniest bit intrigued by this film to make a point of giving ‘Green Book’ a chance whenever possible. It’s a phenomenal piece of filmmaking and one of the very best films of the previous year. Some were clearly upset it winning the best picture Oscar, but I will say that it’s certainly far more deserving than some of its fellow nominees.
Overall, ‘Green Book’ is simply outstanding. A powerful, frequently hilarious and truly moving story about friendship, struggle and compassion that’s as uplifting as it is enjoyable. Boosted by the highly capable guidance of director Peter Farrelly and the remarkable performances from Mortensen and Ali as well as the onscreen chemistry they share, the film quickly proves itself to be something unique, touching and incredibly entertaining. ‘Green Book’ earns one of my highest possible recommendations. It’s a beautiful, humorous and uplifting piece of cinema that should at the absolute least be well worth a couple hours and the price of a rental for anyone that’s already even the slightest bit interested in the movie to begin with. There’s a pretty great chance that you’ll only end up being thrilled that you decided to give it a chance.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Green Book’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.00:1 Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks great altogether and delivers a smooth, sharp and detailed presentation from start to finish, with no notable faults or issues to be found throughout. It holds up admirably even during the various darkly lit and heavily populated moments, never causing anything occurring onscreen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a fantastic high definition video presentation that never falters and should easily please both fans and first time viewers alike.
The Blu-ray release features a Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel compatible) soundtrack. Please note that this review pertains solely to the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio presentation. This multichannel soundtrack serves up a clean, crisp and at times fairly active audio presentation. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that a film such as this isn’t exactly overloaded with room thumping audio effects, yet it still regularly takes advantage of all seven available channels whenever fitting in order to send music, rain and other nature elements, along with crowd chatter and more throughout the various speakers on numerous occasions, while never conflicting with any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously. Overall, this is a wonderful Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible) soundtrack that sounds great throughout and delivers in every way required of it without ever becoming overwhelming or distracting.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Green Book’ includes a few brief extras in the way of some Behind the Scenes Featurettes that explore different aspects of bringing the film to life and featuring interviews/comments with members of the cast and crew and behind the scenes footage, plus more. The included Featurettes are: ‘Virtuoso Performances’ (running approximately 4 minutes in length), ‘An Unforgettable Friendship’ (running approximately 5 minutes) and ‘Going Beyond the Green Book’ (approximately 4 minutes).