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3.5 out of 5 stars
Gray Man
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
What an incredible depiction of those horrible events. The story (and DVD) are very cut and dry, no additions or dramatic overtones/liberties taken with plot lines - just a solid portrayal of horrendous events.

The story follows Albert Fish towards the last 10 years of his life as he devolves into the convicted homicidal cannibal. The police end of the story is concise and centers mostly on the lead detective King, who intermittently narrates his part of the film. Bauchau's display of Fish appears to be very authentic, down to the painful self mutilation he became known for. Even the supporting roles were abrupt but relevant for the film.

The camera work and period recreation were done articulately, and there was never a time of picking apart cityscapes or props. Nothing distracts from the overall story, even when it came time for there to be chances for gory scenes, they instead chose to go with suspenseful angles and figuring on the viewer would know what happened. The sound is unfortunately 2.0 and DVD is devoid of anything supplemental. Typically, films that cover these topics have at least epilogues, informative supplementals, period design pics, etc. But nothing here. The cover art is frustrating as they keep trying to push this as a Hannibal Lecter attachment, but this stands on its own. The R rating is strictly for themes as almost everything is assumed (no actual butcher/bloodbath footage or kids in distress - like Changeling).
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
The Gray Man (Scott Flynn, 2007)

Interesting if minor film about one of America's most notorious serial killers and the manhunt that brought him to justice. Flynn's first (and to date last) directorial effort, and it shows, but there's actually quite a bit to like here if you're willing to look under the amateurish hood.

Albert Fish (Patrick Bauchau, recently of 2012) is the nice, if kind of creepy, guy next door. That is, unless you have a small child. Then he becomes the not-so-nice, really creepy guy next door, because he wants to have your tots come over for dinner. As the main course. Fish also has himself some pretty nasty anger issues, which he usually vents in long, rambling letters to the local papers. As we pick up the story, Al is on the hunt for a new victim, when the law gets a whiff of what he might have been up to. This is the law in the form of Will King (Fast and Furious' Jack Conley), the kind of obsessed detective you find in just about every serial killer movie (if you were one of the unfortunates who saw The Black Dahlia, you know what I mean). With the cops hot on his tail, Fish spots what he believes to be his perfect victim: Grace Budd (Lexi Ainsworth, currently taking a turn on General Hospital). Parallel tracks run in the movie as Fish seduces Grace and the cops close in on Fish.

Fish was right in at least one respect; Budd was his perfect victim. It was her murder for which he was put on trial and executed. As such, it does make sense for the movie to focus on his relationship with Budd and her family (though despite the movie's R rating, it soft-pedals pretty much every aspect of that relationship), though that leaves a gold mine of known and suspected information about Fish to be mined for future films. In any case, as I said before, this is Flynn's first directorial effort, and it shows; it stumbles on a fairly regular basis in at least one aspect (pacing is a big one here, to the point where every once in a while it seems Flynn doesn't quite know where to end a given shot), but the acting from the principals and the material is strong enough to make this at least worth watching. Recommended for serial-killer biopic fans. ***
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on April 13, 2009
Format: DVD
I have been somewhat of a true crime reader for a while . THIS MOVIE is VERY accurate of what is known to have happened .I think this is one of the best ( If not the VERY best) adaptation from real life to film that I've ever seen ., I can't praise this Movie enough !! It puts you right there in that era , Like You are a witness to this sad,and unfortunate part of Our history . Buy this for Your collection !!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2013
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
This movie, which could have been done with the horrendous gore and spectacular vividness of today's special effects teams, was very tastefully done instead. The film tells the awful story without dwelling in the sensational, but taking the real life characters to present them as nearly true to life as possible. Having watched the filming of this movie made me aware of this early serial killer in America that has escaped the modern world's attention. He killed and cannibalized children. He was evil personified, yet...he was a father of six children himself, a single parent who was so tortured by his obsessions that he punished himself in gruesome ways to try to atone for the murders. Albert Fish, a name known to only those who study aberrations in humans, is portrayed brilliantly by Patrick Bauchau. Jack Conley plays the almost washed up detective who actually puts together the random molestations and disappearances of children in the 1920's, working the case of one child. He follows leads that take him on a six year mind-bending mission until he finally is able to track down the amazingly twisted Fish. Directed by Scott Flynn, this film takes you to places in the human mind that most will never encounter, but it does make the viewer aware that background checks are a good thing!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
Albert Fish is probably the most monstrous of our known human monsters.
Although he was convicted and electrocuted for the murder of one little girl, he taunted his captors that he was also responsible for a hundred more missing child/person cases.
The Gray Man comes across as a movie that's very careful not to shock anyone.
Portraying this human nightmare is handsome, talented, charming Patrick Bauchau. In no way does he suggest darkness, psychosis or evil. Granted, a few scenes depict his violent masochism when he beats himself with a belt, but other than that, everything in this movie is all clean, glossy, sunny. It could almost qualify as a movie fit for the Disney channel.
Even the main event--when Fish persuades the parents of a pretty little girl to accompany him to a picnic--is glossed over. We see the couple going to an isolated farm house. Fish enters first and goes upstairs to prepare for the human butchery. Then he sticks his head out the window and asks for the child to join him.
This is a movie that should shock and unnerve the viewer to hit home the diabolical evil of this man.
Research shows that physically, Fish looked strange, thin, grizzled. Bauchau is like a romantic lead from another movie.
The Gray Man needed an Alfred Hitchcock to be in charge--or some of the up and coming horror experts.
This movie shouldn't be presented as a glossy looking little peek into the l920s with everyone nicely dressed and the weather always sunny. I was expecting to be scared and repulsed--in a cinematic way--when I read that this movie was based on the life of Albert Fish. Instead, I found myself yawning while resisting an impulse to hit the "eject" button on my remote.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
THE GRAY MAN isn't the complete story of Albert Fish. It is mostly about his encounter w/ the young girl named Grace Budd in 1928, and the horror that ensued. Fish's life story is well-documented elsewhere. This is more of a cat-and-mouse, police procedural / drama. Patrick Bauchau is very good as Fish, a seemingly kind, gentle old man w/ astonishingly lethal proclivities. THE GRAY MAN is an excellent starting point for further study of this disturbing man, as well as being a first-rate psycho-drama...
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on January 9, 2014
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
I've seen the film "Silence of the Lambs" (SOTL) quite a few times, and I've always thought that it was really good, especially for the genre. And while I gave that film 5 stars, perhaps that rating was a little too high. After all, I'm going 5 on this one as well, and I believe that "Gray Man" is better than SOTL.

This is surely more realistic, but of course that's not completely fair, as this is based upon a true story about Albert Fish, a Depression-era "gentleman" who who had a bad habit of sending disgusting letters to women, and had a worse habit of killing and eating young children. On the other hand, Hannibal Lecter and his sidekick "Buffalo Bill" were a couple of fictional characters based upon an amalgam of assorted real-life serial killers, such as Ed Gein and maybe even Gary Ridgway. So you'd expect this story to be more realistic.

I think that "Gray Man" didn't actually get the kudos that it maybe deserves from an artistic standpoint. I really like the camera work here -- note the dramatic camera angles in some key scenes that create a real sense of dread -- and the colors and costumes are spot on. The attention to period detail is fantastic.

But the acting in this film is also surprisingly strong. In particular, it's hard to imagine that the producer and casting director could have chosen anyone better than Patrick Bauchau in the lead role, even though he most likely is more refined than Mr. Fish ever was. And I was pleasantly surprised to see that Silas Weir Mitchell plays Mr. Fish's son as well; he's the Werewolf-like-Wessen guy in "Grimm," a show that I really like. Even though Mr. Mitchell will most likely never win an Oscar, he's very good and is very likable. But the real star here is Jack Conley, who plays the lead detective who will even sacrifice his health in his six-year quest for the killer.

I watched a documentary several years ago entitled "Albert Fish." And while that documentary is only so-so, it is so shocking that not only did my mouth drop open several times, but it got me interested in the true-crime genre in the first place as well. I also just finished reading "Deranged," an aptly-titled book by Harold Schecter that was also really good. So naturally, this movie was nearly a must-see for me, although I believe that this will be the end of the Albert Fish story for me after this. My hunger for this story has luckily been satiated; too bad Mr. Fish's never was.

It is interesting that it seems to be more socially acceptable to appreciate films such as SOTL over films such as "Gray Man." The writers of SOTL avoided one subject that makes that film more palatable from a societal perspective: no children were killed in that film, from what I remember. (A young girl was held captive but was eventually rescued, is all that I will say to avoid most spoilers.) Here, while the director never actually shows children being killed, you know that they are. And you do see some evidence of it after-the-fact, in a few grisly scenes.

While the story is not exactly the same as what happened in real life -- the way that Mr. Fish first meets Grace Budd I believe has been modified a bit, and a few other liberties have been taken here and there, none that seem to really matter -- it is mostly true to the real tale. But what I really liked: the way that the writer/director tell parallel stories here, one from the perspective of Mr. Fish, and one from the perspective of the detective chasing him. So it's not simply some boring police procedural.

I'll give a strong recommendation on this film if you know anything about this story. But for modern-day parents of young children -- I have none of my own -- this should be required viewing. After all, it shows social engineering of the worst kind and may give a few hints on what to avoid. But I'll add that "Gray Man" does it in a very artistic and tasteful way, at least as much as is possible with one Albert Fish.
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on April 29, 2009
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
This was a great movie - such a shame I never saw it in the theatre. Quality acting and story line... very happy with my purchase.
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on February 14, 2015
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
I'm a huge watcher of safe-danger, true life films, and serial killer pieces are of particular importance to me. This film was very well done. I really enjoy how there wasn't too much gore, I like the acting, it was overly acted like the typical Hollywood scene.
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on March 21, 2015
Format: Amazon Instant VideoVerified Purchase
Interesting story, horrible acting. That's pretty much the bottom line here.
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