Power of Friendship: Our Review of ‘Green Book’ on 4K Blu-Ray

Posted in Blu-Ray/DVD, Movies by - March 11, 2019
Power of Friendship: Our Review of ‘Green Book’ on 4K Blu-Ray

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The path to real change always takes place with the smallest of steps…

Green Book has been cleaning up on the awards circuit ever since it bowed at the Toronto International Film Festival and won the People’s Choice Award.  While it’s hardly a perfect film, neither are the challenges of race relations and Green Book is a testament of the power of what new friendship and treating each other like equals can do in the face of rampant discrimination.

When Tony Lip (Viggo Mortensen), a bouncer from an Italian-American neighborhood in the Bronx, is hired to drive Dr. Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali), a world-class black pianist, on a concert tour from Manhattan to the Deep South, they must rely on The Green Book to guide them to the few establishments that were then safe for African-Americans. Confronted with racism, danger-as well as unexpected humanity and humor-they are forced to set aside differences to survive and thrive on the journey of a lifetime.

It’s hard to believe that a film from one of the director’s of Dumb and Dumber could win an Academy Award but Green Book has enough sense and nuance to it to remind us that no matter our differences across lines of race, creed & gender we all deserve to be treated with respect.

While the film hits some generic bio picture beats and has some problematic moments of ‘white saviour-dom’ in the narrative, Co-Writer and Director Peter Farrelly takes this story from Nick Vallelonga who had the story told from his dad Tony and boils it down to the basics.  It’s a story about friendship and how important and how much courage it actually takes just to learn how to co-exist with one another regardless.  Farrelly actually brings this idea out with a fair bit of success, it’s occasionally clunky but it does it all with a minimum of impassioned speeches and actually focuses on the simple things of correcting one another as a society when we something that shouldn’t be allowed to pass.

That message would have gotten lost in lesser hands as it almost plays like a trick piece of storytelling by laying it all out for us as simply as possible, leaving for our two leads to truly bring the message home and they do in spades.

Much like the two characters that they play on screen, if Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali don’t work together as well as they do then this movie simply dies an uninspired death.  The film is basically a socially conscience Odd Couple and they play it as such.  As Mortensen’s character learns the real difficulties of being a black man in America, Ali’s character learns the importance of allowing yourself a chance at friendship and acceptance while having to live an incredibly guarded life.  They don’t always see eye to eye, but they do understand one another and that’s the message that the film is so successful in hammering home.Green Book

Sadly the supporting players in this film are woefully underwritten, but both of these men carry this film with admirable aplomb so it ultimately really doesn’t matter all that much.

The picture and sound quality on the Blu-Ray is top notch as you’d expect and the special features include three behind the scenes featurettes which are honestly a little disappointing.

Was Green Book the best film of 2018?  Not really…but warts and all it doesn’t mean that it isn’t a damn fine message delivered in an entertaining fashion and honestly all good ideas have to start somewhere and this is as good of a place as any.

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  • Release Date: 3/12/2019
This post was written by
David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like Examiner.com, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
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