The Gray Man: The Zone Between Good and Evil
The gray man is a 2022 film based on a 2009 novel of the same name by Mark Greaney. There were several attempts to adapt the book into the film leading to Netflix acquiring the film rights and eventually directing it. I haven’t read the books, but what I can tell from my research for this article, the plot of the film deviates greatly from the original source material, including the background of the tracks. As I haven’t read the books, I won’t compare the two, nor go into the differences between them. But fans of the books beware, there are a few discrepancies.
Court Gentry (Ryan Gosling) was convicted of murder and sent to prison without the possibility of parole until 2031. In 2003, CIA handler Donald Fitzroy (Billy Bob Thornton) commutes the court’s sentence and recruits him for a secret agent called the Sierra program. Court, now known as “Six” or “Sierra Six”, works in the gray area between good and evil. Sometimes there are bad people who need extrajudicial sanctions. There are no files on the Sierra program agents, which means they essentially don’t exist, so there can be no connection to the CIA or the US government. Fitzroy is forced into retirement and his replacement, Denny Carmichael (Régé-Jean Page) is not a fan of the show.
During an operation in Bangkok, an assassination goes wrong and Six gets hold of information that makes him a target for Denny and the CIA. In order to force Six to turn over the information, Denny hires Lloyd (Chris Evans), a psychopathic ex-CIA, now mercenary to obtain the assets and dispose of Six. To do this, Lloyd kidnaps Fitzroy and his niece. CIA agent Dani Miranda (Ana de Armas), allies herself with Six, originally to clear her own name, but as the film progresses, because it’s the right thing to TO DO. As Lloyd follows Six across Europe, he leaves a trail of destruction in his path, literally destroying Prague, leading to the final showdown at a beautiful villa in Croatia. Who lives, who dies and who gets what happens to them… Tune in to find out!
Directed by the Russo Brothers who brought us the Avengers: Infinity Saga, the film had a limited theatrical release on July 15e with the official release date of July 22n/a. The film was met with mixed reviews, with most presenting a great overall case, but with a cliched plot and a bit too fast paced. I agree with their sentiment but I give it a little more credit. It was a little shocking, but really fun to see Chris Evans play the bad guy, having gotten so used to him being the wholesome Captain America. Sporting a 70s porn look and dressing like someone from the 50s, I’m sure it was fun for Chris to break the stereotypes and do something a little dark and wild. Ryan Gosling was charismatic as a hitman with a heart and morals. He’s tough, yet sweet with an endearing quality. Regé-Jean was good as Denny Carmichael, who is the real villain of the film, although I don’t act wisely if he was on the same level as Chris, Ryan or Ana. We don’t see Dhanush enough as a mercenary, Avik San and that’s a shame. He seemed like a capable actor and the character was interesting.
The film production value is high with plenty of pyrotechnics and chases on European streets. The fight choreography is quite good, especially the melee combat. But that’s where you lose me a bit as a viewer (that’s my opinion and point of view), there’s a point where the gun fights get a little too much. With all the problems America faces with our current gun laws, the excessive use of guns, while exciting, raises many ethical questions. Plus, there’s just a point where enough is enough, and the story continues. At least this movie acknowledges the shear destruction, with the Battle of Prague being called a disaster by one of the top CIA agents. And the fact that half the town is in shambles has Denny worrying about what his boss is going to do and how can he blame it on someone else. The pace of the film was quick and well flowing. It was maybe a little too frantic, but it was meant to be. Six, barely has a chance to breathe, because the bounty on his head is high, so everyone is after him. The movie is left open for a sequel, with most of the characters still in place to face off again and the hint of someone higher up in the CIA actually running the show, called only “The Oldman”.