Green Book 綠簿旅友 (2018) - USA
Reviewed by Andrew Chan (Film Critics Circle of Australia)
What is so beautiful about the part bio-pic “Green Book” directed by Peter Farrelly, it’s the constant normality and subtleness that allows two great actors in Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali to grow and develop their respective characters during time of brutal racism and divide of the 1960s USA. The “Green Book” as the title suggests is a travel guide for the blacks to use when travelling down South, containing “safe” locations to eat and stay. More than just another road movie, the film goes deeper into the tension, the lack of belonging, human conditions, equality and rights all wrapped within a highly engaging classic Hollywood affair.
Viggo Mortensen is excellent with a tart of belly fat as the Italian night club bouncer “Tony Lim” who ended up a driver/security for talented pianist Don Shirley (captured with precise perfection by Mahershala Ali). The duo cannot be more different both in personality, race and upbringing. Director Peter Farrelly smartly allows the two interacts, slowly warm to each other in a planned out phrase, never for a moment manufactured as the two develop mutual respect for each other. It is ultimately this chemistry that allows the film to be so thoroughly engaging and effective in the more emotional sequences. Linda Cardellini plays the supportive housewife whose character is underused and explored, but more than hold her scenes effectively.
All in all, “Green Book” succeeds with its Oscar nominations and captures the audience heart slowly as the performances slip us all in both naturally and realistically. We feel for the situations and happenings that is befalling to our talented pianist and how both characters learn and grow during this road trip down South. The finale is fitting and emotional and never for a moment manufactured as the two embraces after a long journey home in time for Christmas. This is a beautiful film and one for collections.
I rated it 9/10