‘Green Book’ Is A Movie Against The Times

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‘Green Book’ Is A Movie Against The Times

Jack Julow, Writer

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After Green Book secured its Best Picture win at the Golden Globe, it became a frontrunner at the Academy Awards. Now nominated by the Academy when they released the nominations, I finally decided to catch it at the movie theater. I was nervous to see the film after Don Shirley’s family condemned the film claiming its inaccuracy, and all my fears and trepidations were realized. Green Book plays like a flipped Driving Miss Daisy with an Italian twist, but without a decent script. Directed and written by Peter Farrelly (half of the brother group that made Dumb and Dumber), Green Book tells the story of classically trained African-American pianist Don Shirley through the eyes of a racist Italian chauffeur. Don’t worry, it does get worse.

Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen) works at the CopaCabana, but suddenly finds himself out of a job after it closes down for reservations. In actuality, Tony sacrifices job security to get in good with a high-ranking member of the mob. On the next day, two black men are helping out his wife with the sink when he wakes up, which he does not like seeing. He continue to throw away the glasses of lemonade his wife gave the men in the garbage instead of washing them. Then out of the blue, Tony chooses to become the the chauffeur to the eccentric Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) then live a life of crime. The rest of the film chronicles their journey into the South where they cultivate a friendship and are challenged the racist institution that plague Southern America.

Does Farrelly accomplish this task? To be simple, no. Farrelly begins the film with the wrong person by centering on Tony and not Don Shirley. Instead of being treated to a film where we see the story of a successful talented person that society forgot about, we are forced to endure another story where a white man must be educated what is racist or not. Tony Lip did not have to face the torrents of racism that Shirley faced ever. Farrelly does a disservice to Shirley by criticizing a man for two whole hours before Tony suddenly learns how to be a decent, respectful human being. The moment Tony calls himself “blacker” than Don Shirley for Shirley not living up to the his stereotype of black people made me check out for the rest of the movie.

As for the behind-the-scenes, I found the script to be the biggest issue. Farrelly’s attempt to bring humor to the Civil Rights era comes off terribly, as he clearly does not have deft writing to make humor out of an issue that does not have much humor in it. Farrelly’s choice of cinematography is nothing to be excited about anyway. Nothing stood out cinematically like many other films nominated in the Best Picture category. However, Mortensen and Ali do the best with the very little they are given.

I do not recommend you see this film, so hopefully it will swiftly exit the theaters soon.

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