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The Gray Man

Farhad Dalal
By-
Farhad Dalal
Rating
2.5 Star popcorn reviewss

Introduction

Onto the next release of the weekend and I finished watching the new English film The Gray Man which is streaming on Netflix. And this film had a lot going for it. For starters, it had our very own Dhanush who was making his big Hollywood debut and one of my earliest reasons to watch this film. Secondly, the film had a cast to die for! If Ryan Gosling, Chris Evans, Ana De Armas and Dhanush were ever put in a film together, I would pay a truckload of money to watch it. And lastly, the film is directed by The Russo Brothers who had made the magnanimous Avenger films – Infinity War and Endgame. If ever there was a title for a big budget Netflix Original Film, this one would win it hands down. So which much anticipation, I finished watching The Gray Man. Is it worth your time, stay tuned.

Story & Screenplay

The Gray Man follows the story of a CIA operative who discovers a dark secret of his agency only to be followed by a group of assassins around the globe. The story is the same old spy story packaged in a new bottle and perhaps a huge downer for me considering the stellar cast it had on display. The screenplay here is entertaining but only in parts. At a duration of less than 2 hours(if I discount the 14 minute end credits), the film never slackens in pace. But the question remains, does it entertain enough?

The drama opens in typical style where the protagonist who is a CIA agent has to finish off one of the targets. This until he learns a starling fact. And thus the goose hunt begins from here. One of the highlights of the screenplay include high voltage action sequences and set pieces which are quite entertaining to watch. But the drama suffers from a high dose of such sequences. Now, I was expecting the sequences to be over the top but thankfully they didn’t really get carried away, apart from the fact that the side characters just couldn’t kill off a man(as mentioned even by its antagonist).

In dramas like these, you do get fleeting doses of humour too but here the humour is pretty much non existent. The screenplay is also disjointed in a few places including a random placement of a flashback scene, that when the protagonist is on the run. I felt such sequences were often disrupting the momentum of the screenplay. But credit to the writers for rebuilding the momentum every now and then.

The final act was quite underwhelming and it lacked that punch despite the protagonist and antagonist having a go at one another. A needless twist at the end just doesn’t seem to add up in what turns out to be a rather bland, cliched and predictable screenplay.

Dialogues, Music & Direction

The dialogues are corny and just about adequate. The BGM is good and does make your pulse race in moments. The cinematography and VFX are excellent and probably the best aspects of the screenplay. The Russo Brothers do not quite hold your attention this time around in the direction department. While the focus is on the action, the characterization and the soul in the story do take a back seat. Also the screenplay wasn’t layered rather it was far too simplistic.

Performances

The performances are pretty decent. Rege-Jean Page as Carmichael, Julia Butters as Claire, Jessica Henwick as Suzanna and Billy Bob Thornton as Fitz all have their moments to shine. Dhanush as Avik impresses in a few combat sequences and does a good job in the acting department. However, his character lacks the depth and his limited screentime doesn’t help the cause here. Ana De Armas aa Miranda looks pretty and does a fair job but that is about it. Chris Evans as Lloyd is the best actor on display and he is quite fabulous to watch. Ryan Gosling as Six is tremendous in action sequences and fairly good in the acting department.

Conclusion

The Gray Man is Popcorn Entertainment which is NOT at its best. Watchable but you expected this to be a lot better. Available on Netflix.

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