Ralph Potts reviews Green Book , a film inspired by a true friendship that transcended race, class, and the 1962 Mason-Dixon line.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )



Studio and Year: Universal - 2018
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 130 minutes
Genre: Drama

Disc Format: BD-66
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 2.00:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1, French DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellini
Directed by: Peter Farrelly
Music by: Kris Bowers
Written by: Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly
Region Code: A,B,C

Release Date: March 12, 2019
"It Takes Courage to Change People’s Hearts"

“Dr Don Shirley is a world-class African-American pianist, who is about to embark on a concert tour in the Deep South in 1962. In need of a driver and protection, Shirley recruits a tough-talking bouncer from an Italian-American neighborhood in the Bronx. Despite their differences, the two men soon develop an unexpected bond while confronting racism and danger in an era of segregation.” – Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

My Take:

When Tony Lip (Mortensen), a bouncer from an Italian-American neighborhood in the Bronx, is hired to drive Dr. Don Shirley (Ali), a world-class Black pianist, on a concert tour from Manhattan to the Deep South, they must rely on The Green Book to guide them to the few establishments that were then safe for African-Americans. Confronted with racism, danger as well as unexpected humanity and humor—they are forced to set aside differences to survive and thrive on the journey of a lifetime.

Inspired by a true story Green Book is a wonderful period film that tells the story of two very different man, both culturally and ethically, who find themselves brought together by necessity at a time when such pairings were looked upon as being well outside of the boundaries of standard conduct. I really loved this story. Not only because of its basis in reality but, for its universal appeal as a story about acceptance, friendship and the unlikely ties that bind.

I thought that the performances by both Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali were outstanding. I thought that their chemistry onscreen is what truly solidified the film’s narrative impact. The script, which was co-written by Nick Vallelonga, Tony “Lip” Vallelonga’s son maintained excellent balance as it paid homage to both men, in recounting the wonderful start to a lifelong friendship.

Green Book is the winner of three 2019 Golden Globe® awards including Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Mahersala Ali and Best Screenplay. I thoroughly enjoyed Green Book and look forward to sitting down with it again.

Replay Value:
Parental Guide:

The rating is for thematic content, language, including racial epithets, smoking, some violence and suggestive content.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

UHD Presentation: 92
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

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Dolby Atmos Rating: 92
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

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Green Book comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound.

For its presentation in Ultra HD, Green Book was derived from a 3.4K source, rendered from a 2K DI and up-converted to 4K. Green Book is a period-based film that has a specific visual aesthetic which comes through quite naturally in this Ultra HD rendering. With a discernible increase in detail and depth the image appears more vivid and lifelike when compared to the 1080p version, which is solid in its own right. Primary colors such red and green are pleasingly rich while whites appear gradational and delineated. The film contains a host of sequences that take place in low lit interiors, and the increased dimension in blacks and shadows is appreciable. Close ups reveal oodles of fine detail and abounding textures. Wide angle shots of the city, movie theater, and the holding chamber, look great in Ultra HD.

I found the application of high dynamic range to be spot on and quite complimentary. The rendering of natural and artificial light via its discernible stages and incremental highlights is one of the presentation's big pluses. This is noticeable during the sun splashed exterior sequences and, several of the interior venues featured in the story. The film utilizes sepia, teal schemed color and an overall a warm chromatic aesthetic that is faithfully reproduced. I found instances where the image softened, depending on the camera angle, however this appears to be innate, as it is present in both the Ultra HD, and 1080p renderings.

The difference between viewing Green Book in high definition and Ultra HD isn't night and day, but it assuredly benefitted from the increase in resolution, wide color gamut and subtle high dynamic range treatment. Overall, I was pleased with this presentation.

Dolby Atmos:

In listening to the Dolby Atmos surround mix I found it to be fairly active, which considering the source material was quite welcoming. In general, its use of audio objects placed above is limited to atmospherics and occasional panning fills. This is done to good effect when implemented and created an enriching level of immersion. Where the Atmos presentation excelled was in the use of object-based sounds during the film’s musical set pieces and the handling of interior/exterior venue replication. When called upon its ability to render acoustics, point to point imaging and expanding the breadth of the soundstage never disappointed. I found this to be an enjoyable audio presentation that absolutely complimented the source material.

For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:

Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Blu-ray Video:

Video: 96
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

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Audio: 90
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

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  • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA


Green Book comes to Blu-ray Disc from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and Dolby Atmos/True HD 7.1 channel sound.

This is an excellent high definition rendering that sports plenty of fine detail and crisp definition that provides discerning dimensional perspective. Colors range from warm and vivid to cool, reserved and almost tonally neutral. This is obviously a creative decision that draws definitive visual boundaries and works quite well. Contrast is strong and blacks are deep without compromise to delineation. Shadowy areas exhibit excellent depth of field and visible gradational stages. The various wide-angle shots of the shooting locations look terrific. Other than some innate softening, I didn’t see any signs of video degrading artifacts or extraneous compression related noise. Green Book looks great on Blu-ray.

This is primarily a dialog driven film however there are elements in the film that require use of the entire system so its ability to clearly render them is essential. Dialog is reproduced with transparent realism and lucid texture as it is appropriately balanced within the front soundstage. The 7.1 channel (Dolby Atmos core) surround mix utilizes the entire platform to recreate the many acoustic sounds associated with the environments portrayed onscreen. The surrounds contain a mixture of spatial ambience/musical extension as well as directional panning cues that effectively support the front soundstage. There is a solid low end that occasionally underscores the film’s thematic elements and its presence of noteworthy. This is a complimentary audio presentation that mates well with the source material.

Bonus Features:
  • Disc 1: Green Book Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: Green Book Blu-ray
    • Virtuoso Performances– Go behind the scenes with Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali as they discuss their characters and the lengths they went to accurately portray them.
    • An Unforgettable Friendship – Cast and filmmakers discuss the friendship between Don Shirley and Tony Lip.
    • Going Beyond the Green Book – Filmmakers and cast discuss the significance of The Green Book.
  • Digital Copy
Final Thoughts:

Inspired by a true story Green Book is a wonderful period film that tells the story of two very different man, both culturally and ethically, who find themselves brought together by necessity at a time when such pairings were looked upon as being well outside of the boundaries of standard conduct. I found its compelling narrative, terrific performances and apt direction to be spot on and wholly gratifying. It comes to Blu-ray from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment featuring excellent overall video quality and complimentary sound, which includes a Dolby Atmos immersive mix. Green Book is a must see film that comes highly recommended on Blu-ray.
Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from  Spectracal )
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems