And The Surprise Film At The LFF 2018 Was...Green Book
Dir: Peter Farrelly
Starring Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellini
Peter Farrelly leaps from the likes of Dumb and Dumber into the world of potential Oscar nominee with a movie he claims is his first drama, but which he will only too quickly admit is still a very funny film. Set in the racially charged world of 1962 America, the completly winning Green Book is based on the true story of an unlikely friendship. Somewhat bigoted nightclub bouncer Tony Lip (Mortensen) is hired to drive somewhat rarefied musician Doctor Don Shirley (Ali) on a tour through the deep South which, as one and history both can surmise, was a tough gig for a refined black man back in the time when civil rights was still a notion rather than an act.
What emerges is a beautifully acted story of developing friendship and mutual respect. Yes, it’s “a learning film” – you know right away from the set up that both men will come to form a grudging respect for each other and see their own world view through the eyes of their fellow passenger as they drive cross country. But it is done with such grace and such skill, that it never feels forced or trite, or unbelievable. Instead it feels warm and loving and gradually triumphant – even if the triumphs are realistically small ones, placed perfectly alongside the many defeats along the way.
Farrelly’s touch as both co-writer and director genuinely is unlike anything else in his catalogue, and he proves perfectly skilled in such a development. But the movie is a film about two characters and two performances. Both Mortensen and Ali fully deserve the Oscar nominations that are almost guaranteed to follow, as they deliver two fully rounded and pleasantly nuanced characters that emerge before our eyes as we journey alongside them in that car. Both take unexpected turns, both catch us off guard, and both make us want to spend more time with them than this effectively timed movie allows.
You can argue that this is old fashioned, but it might well be this awards season’s dark horse. Utterly delightful in many, many ways.
More info @ www.bfi.org.uk/lff
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