The action driven feature film adaptation, The Gray Man, based on the popular 2009 novel with the same title, by writer Mark Greaney, stars Ryan Gosling as Court Gentry, a highly skilled and experienced CIA blackops assassin, named Sierra Six. The story set in a world of corruption, is filled withwell-pacedentertainment.

The story follows Sierra Six, a crucial part of the top-secret Sierra programme, whose identity is known by no one, apart from the CIA, and works on special missions as their top assassin. Things get complicated when he uncovers the agency’s dark secrets, when he suddenly gains possession of an encrypted drive, which holds evidence of largescale misconduct about his superiors,and this almost immediately makes Six the new target. The film’s core plot unfolds, with fast paced action, and highspeed chase scenes, as Sixgoes on the run, trying to survive a global search by assassins, hired by his ex-colleagues at the CIA, who want to get their hands on the evidence he has and hunt him down.

The film also stars Ana de Armas as Dani Miranda, Sierra Six’s former colleague, and CIA agent, who stands by him as an ally to help him overcome the new challenges he faces. Billy Bob Thornton plays Donald Fitzroy, a man Six trusts, who recruited him, whileJulia Butters stars as his niece Claire Fitzroy, a young girl who is held hostage, to be used as leverage.Rege-Jean Page plays Denny Carmichael, a corrupt CIA official, Jessica Henwick plays Suzanne Brewer, his boss, and Chris Evans plays Lloyd Hansen, a psychopathic, sadistic mercenary, who was formerly in the CIA, but now works as a private contractor, hired by Carmichael to acquire the evidence from Six. Popular Indian actor, director, and producer Dhanush plays the role of Avik San, an assassin who goes by the name ‘Lone Wolf,’ who is hired by Hansen to acquire the evidence.

The 129-minute film by director Anthony Russo and Joe Russo, was made with producers Chris Castaldi, Palak Patel, Jeff Kirschenbaum, Mike Larocca, and Joe Roth, working in collaboration with production companies Roth/Kirschenbaum Films and the Russo brothers’ company AGBO. The Gray Man made with a production budget of approximately two hundred million dollars, is considered one of Netflix’s most expensive productions.

The film proved to be a hit, with the film’s limited theatrical release easily earning over US$350, 000 at the box-office, even before its intended official Netflix release, which was later reported to be the most-watched movie in eighty-four countries, with an estimated eighty-eight million watch hours, with overforty-three million viewers, within the first three days.

Rated 46 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes, 51 per cent on Metacritic and 6.5/10 on IMDb, the star-studded film has received praise from fans of Gosling, while the ensemble cast received mixed critic. The well-made adaptation features fast to moderate pacing, which manages to keep viewers engaged through its mildly lengthy runtime, which focuses on telling a well-rounded story.

The Gray Man marks the first film, as part of a new franchise, based on Greaney’s Gray Man novels, with a sequel as part of The Gray Man universe already announced, and a planned spin-off under way.

This is a film that fans of Mark Greaney’s original novel will appreciate, given that the well-directed screenplay brings the pages of the popular novel to life, with non-stop action, every step of the way. This is a film that many who enjoy straight forward action can appreciate, for its well thought out plot, delivered by a star who has proved himself once again with his precision performance.

By Nirupa Mohan Dore