Review: The Gray Man

Calling all Ryan Gosling fans. The Gray Man, which had a limited theatrical release on July 15, 2022 and followed that up with a digital release on Netflix a week later, is a movie you'll love.

It's got action, drama, fight sequences, a compelling character who has emotional depth that's revealed a little at a time as the story progresses.

Yes, the fight scenes are outlandish. Just one of the injuries the characters sustain would end them, but that's the way action movies are in today's world—frenetic and a bit clichéd.

However, this film rises above that. I think women will like this movie for a simple reason, and not because Gosling is eye candy.

The reason has to do with Gosling's character who at heart is a protector of those he cares about. That kind of male has appealed to women, whether they realize it or not, for millenia.

Presenting men in that role is why women loved the movies Speed, The Last of the Mohicans, and other movies that present the male as protector. Movies that mine that theme will always appeal to women even if only subconsciously.

In The Gray Man the young teen asks her uncle, "He's coming for us, isn't he?" The uncle replies, "If he's alive, he'll be here."

That is what every woman admires and wants: a man who will come for her no matter what the odds.

Back to The Gray Man

The adaptation of the thriller by Mark Greaney was announced way back in 2011, and the movie was supposed to star Brad Pitt. That didn't pan out so they were supposed to make the title role be a woman with Charlize Theron. That didn't happen either.

Nothing happened for several years until Anthony and Joe Russo took over as directors. With a screenplay Joe Russo co-wrote with Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, the project went forward.

The Gray Man film is the first in a franchise based upon Greaney's novels. If you'd like to read the book, The Gray Man by Mark Greaney, it's available in Kindle, Audio, and Paperback from Amazon.

You'll notice that they have the film's poster art on a new cover for the book.

If you're looking for a very watchable movie, this is it. Starring Gosling, Chris Evans as the psycho villain, Ana de Armas as a badass woman agent, Julia Butters as the niece, Billy Bob Thornton as the uncle, Alfre Woodard as a badass retired CIA handler, Jessica Henwick as the female villain, Regé-Jean Page, Dhanush, and Wagner Moura, the film was produced by AGBO, the Russo brothers' company.

The Plot

Sierra Six is a CIA hitman working with agent Dani Miranda to take out a target they are told is selling national security secrets. He does the job, but the target reveals that he also works for the CIA. He gives a flash drive to Six which implicates higher ups in "dirty tricks" that have nothing to do with national security and everything to do with gaining power.

Takeaway Truth

I absolutely recommend this movie. You'll love it, and you may want to buy the book. I bought it on audio so I could listen to it while going back and forth to our house in the country.

Joan is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program which means if you click an Amazon link in her post she may earn a tiny commission.


  1. Reviews of The Gray Man are mixed but if you liked the intermittently fast and furious pace of Bill Fairclough’s epic fact based spy novel Beyond Enkription in The Burlington Files series then you will love Anthony Russo's The Gray Man and vice versa. They both make parts of Robert Ludlum’s Jason Bourne series look like slow horses! The Gray Man is about a renegade CIA agent on the run and stars Ryan Gosling and Chris Evans; it’s based on Mark Greaney's debut novel of the same name. Fairclough’s factual stand-alone thriller Beyond Enkription is about a (real life) MI6 agent on the run from international organised crime gangs and Haiti’s TonTon Macoute from London to Nassau and Port au Prince to Miami. The Gray Man and The Burlington Files are both musts for espionage aficionados. The difference between them is that The Burlington Files series has had mainly five star reviews, it’s full of real characters and was written for espionage cognoscenti some of whom won’t have even heard of the ingenious spycraft tricks featured in this electrifying novel.