“Green Book” looks at race — but then looks away


Raider Times photo / Courtesy DreamWorks

Mahershala Ali i(left) and Viggo Mortensen star in “Green Book”.

Gleb Partensky, Raider Times staff

Set in the early 1960s, “Green Book” begins with a focus on a white Italian bouncer, Tony Lip, who is looking for a job after the restaurant where he works is shut down. The film emphasizes Tony’s racial prejudice before he is offered a job by a black pianist, Don Shirley, who wants Tony to chauffeur him on a concert trip in the deep South. The two must learn to understand each other during a long journey of constant systematic harassment and racism.

The film attempts to show racial oppression and its effects on the psyche of a psychologically strong man. However, as with all attempts to fully convey the issue of racial tension, “Green Book” does a fine effort, but can’t portray the full picture. The problems of racism, police harassment, and segregation are often glossed over with excessive amounts of humor and action.

Overall, the movie does a great job of showing the growing and complicated bond of Don Shirley and Tony Lip, but leaves too little space to cover societal issues.

–Nov. 21, 2018–