Green Book

In the old days when a black person from the North traveled to the Jim Crow South he might consult the Negro Travelers Green Book, a travel guide published from 1936-1966.

In this impeccably made blast to the past, classical pianist Dr. Don Shirley, hires Tony Lip, a Bronx born Italian-American bouncer from the Copacabana, to drive him to the Old South.

The film explores the friendship and mutual respect that develops along the way between two men who differ in every possible way.

My movie buddy claims that no film of 2018 surpasses this dramatic, comic biopic.

Now the movie world must pay attention to Mahershala Ali, an up and comer at age 44, who plays Don Shirley in the film.

He has some 43 credits but none with such visibility as this role. He is perfect as the musical prodigy doing his best in our fallen world.

Viggo Mortensen, who we love dearly for his portrayal of Strider/Aragorn in the “Lord of the Rings” films, plays Tony Lip, a Bronx bred tough guy.

Director (also writer and producer) Peter Farrelly is half of the Farrelly Brothers team of moviemakers. They are famous for their off kilter comedies like “There’s Something About Mary.”

The Farrelly franchise breaks new ground with this fascinating drama.

While we get frequent and big strong belly laughs in “Green Book,” no one would call it a comedy.

I have a theory that the best movies have the best writing.

Peter Farrelly is solid at 24 writing credits. He is joined by Nick Vallelonga, the son of Tony Lip. They used old letters and other writings of Tony Lip to inform their script writing.

Hollywood long-timer Brian Hayes Currie also helped with the writing. These guys wrote such a magnificent script that the players had roles of power and significance to play.

As actors, Ali and Mortensen have received a script that allows them to play a once in a lifetime role. They make the most of their opportunity.

Movie watchers or reviewers like me have no problem detecting a major, world class, wonderful film. Only a few come by in the course of a year. This is one of them.

“Green Book” runs two hours and 10 minutes. This five saw blade movie deserves to be seen by a wide audience.

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