Viggo Mortensen- Tony Lip
Mahershala Ali- Dr. Don Shirley
Linda Cardellini- Delores
Mortensen and Ali make an unlikely duo in the new roadtrip “buddy” film , “The Green Book”
The “Green Book” is a directory used to find businesses in the south that welcomed black people in the 60’s.
Comedy director Peter Farrelly (Something About Mary, Dumb & Dumber) brings the true story of Dr. Don Shirley, an African American genius pianist and leader of the Don Shirley trio and the tale of his tour of the deep south in the 1960’s.
Shirley (Ali) turned down money and the simplicity of touring his trio though the north in his way of a “civil rights” tour of the deep south. Dr. Shirley, not being completely naïve, knew he would nee a driver that would handle the site arrangements and his protection. The record label reached out to a New York local Tony Lip (Mortensen).
Tony Lip, an Italian American that worked as a bouncer at the Copacabana and did small jobs for the mafia bosses. Tony also had a bottomless pit of a stomach and would win bets in eating competitions. When the Copa closed for the holidays, Tony was left scrounging for money and answered the call to interview for Dr. Shirley.
After getting permission from Tony’s wife Delores (Cardellini), he hired the bouncer as his driver and protector. Delores mad Tony promise he would be home by Christmas. Before the group pulled out of the city the Record company executive gave Tony a copy of the “Green Book” to help make accommodations for Dr. Shirley in the South. The shows in the Midwest were a breeze and allowed Tony to take in the music Dr. Shirley performed with his trio and Tony educated Don on 60’s Motown and fast food.
Lip and Shirley began the trip like oil and water but once in the southern leg of the tour and the constant harassment the pair would endure, naturally drove them together and they would become friends. Lip becomes more of a guardian angel to the Doctor as he got into trouble in a local bar where he was beaten by 4 men until Lip shows up and acts like he is carrying a gun and in the mafia. The other problem they encountered was a moment of indiscretion (Dr. Shirley found in a shower with a white man) and the police are arresting him when Tony shows up and tried to bribe the cops but ends up punching them. Dr. Shirley demands his phone call and manages to get them sprung because he called in a favor to the US Attorney General Robert Kennedy.
Dr. Shirley complete the tour and are faced with a major snowstorm between them and New York to get back by Christmas.
Flickanalysis- This biopic based on the actual tour of Dr. Shirley and the friendship that developed between himself and Tony Lip is heartwarming and a MUST SEE film. I am sure Viggo Mortensen will be reward during award season for his performance in the film. One of the best of 2018!
My Rating: 5/5 buckets of Chicken.
Rated PG-13 for racial themes, Language and violence