Green Book is set in 1962 and based on the real life story of famous pianist Don Shirley and his musical tour through the deep south, where he is accompanied by his racist Italian-American driver come bodyguard. Being the deep south in the sixties, the film shows some of the tribulations that Don Shirley had to go through and how he always kept his dignity.
The story is pretty generic and is told with no stylistic flair at all. It goes from point A, to point B, to point C and hits on the same iterations as a thousand films before it. Add to the fact that Peter Farrelly shows no directive flair in this film, just standard and basic shots throughout the entirety really makes the film blend in to other films of the same ilk.
Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali, with their superb talent drag this film into the realm of enjoyment. Their acting is fantastic, and thoroughly convincing. Watching their chemistry on screen was magical, their rapport was aided even more by great dialogue. Allowing the two to bounce off of each other time and time again as they start respecting each other more and more. It’s a joy to watch and quite frankly, they deserved a better film to showcase their electric chemistry.
While the dialogue is great, the rest of the script just slips back into being mediocre and exceedingly bland. Metaphors are shoved in the audience face, scenes feel so cheesy it’s like watching a bad Christmas film. There seems to have been great sentimentality put into this film, but it just didn’t work as the screenwriters relied too much on derivative tropes instead of highlighting the strength of their actors and the unusual story.
The two lead performances drag Green Book from the depths of below average, Disney-lite storytelling, and manages to make the film enjoyable. Some of the issues such as not being allowed certain places could have been hit harder for a deeper emotional effect but are barely explored unfortunately. Such a waste.