Green Book – Movie Reviews by Ry!

Green Book – Music of a Memorable Road Trip

The familiar, something that can make or break an experience at the theaters.  A familiar journey is cumbersome, but can sway those if there is a good story with strong characters.  This film takes a typical road trip outline, combines it with feel good tropes to create a story that is sincere to the heart.  A story that has been repeated plenty of times, this is one road trip that is worth traveling on till the end.

The story focuses on Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen) and Dr. Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) as they embark on a concert tour in the early 1960s in America.  The beginning is all about introducing the characters, time period and plot points.  You are first introduced to Tony, who is thrust into taking a job as a ‘body guard’ for the doctor as he traverses the Deep South for tour dates.  Everything about the first act is cliché and predictable.  The simplistic direction is intentional, creating an ‘as is’ approach that provides no juxtaposition of depth.  Realism is grafted to stylizing without emotions.  As the story moves into the road trip, it puts the focus on the two companions and their interactions.  The story starts to weave a delicate thread of thematic detail with humanizing moments.  The details of a personal journey become relevant, pulling the character’s personas beyond the typical archetypes.  The familiarity becomes welcoming because of the dialogue and character development.  It is the script that shines upon the realistic interactions, through bantering, conversations and whimsical use of diction.  This makes you feel as if you’re part of the road trip.  This adds a layer of wholesomeness to the generalities, leading to more endearing moments.

The second act pushes the main characters towards engrossing detail of the period.  Being set in the 1960s, the atmosphere shows a contrast in beliefs and livelihood.  As the two navigate the conflicts with each other, through each tour stop, they become aware of their personal flaws.  This provides subtle hints of personal growth, created through the realistic atmosphere of the Deep South.  This allows for a gradual placement of deeper conflicts too evolve the characters.  The methodical approach also provides meaningful complexion of the commonalities in the direction, leading to truths in each of their personal journeys.  Situations might seem obvious, but it is the human element that propels you through predictable outcomes.  Once you get into the third act and climax, it is everything you expect but with greater emotional weight to the full circle approach.  The epilogue is what you would expect, but it is something that gleams a genuine smile and a lot of heart.  Green Book is structured with many typical archetypes and storytelling tropes, but this is one of the rare times it has a greater impact on the overall character journey.  This is a feel-good story that I recommend everyone sees at the theaters, one of my favorite films of 2018.    

Final Score – 4.5 out of 5 (Award Worthy)


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