THE BODYGUARD: Viggo Mortensen plays Italian-America club bouncer Tony Vallelonga, who takes a job driving African American concert pianist Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) on a tour across the southern United States.

Green Book

  • Comedy-drama; Cert M, contains offensive language; 2hrs 10mins
  • Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellini, Don Stark, Sebastian Maniscalco, Tom Virtue, Brian Stepanek and Joe Cortese
  • Director: Peter Farrelly

PETER Farrelly is best known for the slightly quirky, slightly offensive romantic comedies he has made, along with brother Bobby.

Green Book is a departure for the director-screenwriter. While it has plenty of humour, it is handled with much more subtlety than, say, Something About Mary.

This semi-biographical story has been co-written with Nick Vallelonga, the son of the lead character, Tony.

Viggo Mortensen has chosen to portray Tony, an Italian-American New York club bouncer who takes a job as driver-bodyguard for an African -American concert pianist as he tours the deep south during the 1960s.

Mortensen is famously picky about the roles he plays, so when he is involved with a movie, you already know it is going to be something out of the ordinary.

Green Book won the People’s Choice award at the Toronto International Film Festival, where it premiered, and has been nominated for multiple awards.

Tony, an uneducated thug, temporarily out of work, is hired by internationally renowned classical and jazz pianist Don Shirley, played by Mahershala Ali (Moonlight) for his tour of the south.

While this story could easily have been simply a portrayal of the Jim Crow south, it takes a more personal slant on the issue of racism.

The two men both come to the relationship burdened with ingrained predudices, and during the course of their sometimes dangerous road trip, discover each other’s more noble qualities.

They not only develop a friendship but become better people for it.

9/10

diane.mccarthy@thebeacon.co.nz