Green Book - A golden story told perfectly.
You don’t see the word ‘perfect’ from me much, because when I use it, I truly mean it.
Ever since the most recent Bafta’s & Oscar’s, Green Book caught my attention. Of course, winning awards will always bring you great publicity, yet, it’s the plot of Green Book, as well as the actors, Viggo Mortensen & Mahershala Ali, that truly inspired me to give it a watch.
Green Book is about an incredibly talented pianist called Dr Don Shirley, who, back in the 1950’s & 1960’s, performed for a whole host of influential and wealthy people in the U.S.A. Dr Shirley wasn’t a solo act, though, he was part of a trio, so in Green Book, you’re told the story about, not only Dr Don Shirley & co., but, also, about a nightclub doorman called Tony ‘Lip’ Vallelonga, who was hired by Dr Shirley to be his chauffeur and bodyguard whilst travelling through the Deep South, which, if you didn’t know, was a notoriously racist region within America at that time.
There’s a reason why Green Book won so many awards, and that’s because the film itself has been so well pieced together. This is the type of movie that, with one accidental slip in it’s story telling, could jeapordise the entire film, but, thankfully, that never occurred. In the grand scheme of things, Green Book isn’t a very complex story (I say that with the utmost respect), therefore, this makes describing the journey and the relationship between Dr Shirley and Tony Lip even more important. Less is usually always more, so you need to hit the ‘less’ on the head, which Peter Ferrelly, the director, did ever so well, as well as the editor, Patrick J. Don Vito.
I hadn’t seen Viggo Mortensen in anything note worthy since he played Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings (my favourite movie of all time), but when Green Book arrived, that was no longer true. I thought that Viggo Mortensen’s Italian American accent was second to none and the way in which he carried himself was unhinged, confident & coarse, just as he was surely meant to be. I’m truly happy for Viggo, because to me, and possibly a lot of other people out there, it finally proves that he does have more in his locker than just the King of Gondor (Aragorn).
Mahershala Ali was extremely elegant from start to finish. Even when luck wasn’t on his side in Green Book, he would always carry himself in such a way that you couldn’t help but grant him respect in that regard. Although the character was painted as a highly professional pianist, Mahershala let himself go in the moments he needed to, just enough for you to believe it, as if that was how Dr Shirley would have been in reality. Now, I have read arguments from family members of Dr Shirley, suggesting his character in Green Book wasn’t entirely like the person who they knew. However, some truth must have been exercised in how they portrayed him & more to the point, it’s a film, not a documentary.
Each scene in Green book has clearly been well thought out, even with the tiniest details taken into consideration. I found myself laughing at most scenes, as I should have been, but at the same time, the film never shied away from the stark, cold reality certain people faced during the mid-century in certain parts, or perhaps all, of the U.S.A. Realism played a huge role in this movie, which is probably why it received the amount of acclaim it did, because when, as viewers, we can associate or relate to what we’re watching, it immediately brings us closer, in a metaphorical sense, so when everything else, such as, the script, set, actors, direction etc., is done with such high quality, you essentially have a recipe for success.
I’m always happy to see movies that send out a good message. Green Book proves that stereotypes are based on a generalist idea that specific people are the same, depending on how they dress, where they come from or what tone of skin colour they have. Unfortunately, till this day, we still face racism, discrimination and prejudice in many forms. When a story like Green Book is brought to life and sent out to the world, I feel as though it tackles peoples preconceived mindset on what they thought, or, shall I say, what they were brought up to believe and/or think. The message may not conquer all such people, but even it’s just a few, then it’s more than worth it.