Cons: left you wanting more content on the man or his crimes
The Bottom Line: "Ain't scared to show my hands But I'm scared of the boogeyman" ~Motorhead
I thought it peculiar that they dedicated the film The Gray Man to only one crime in the rather extensive background of Albert Fish. I assume director Scott Flynn and writers Lee Fontanella and Colleen Cochran decided that it was more import to focus on the complex makeup of this man rather than the crimes. The movie covers the life and death of 10 year old Grace Budd but, according to reports, Fish is considered for over 100 abductions and deaths during his spree.
Fish was one of the first serial killers on record and one of the first identified through a new process known as finger print identification. It was humorous to hear one of the detectives quip about the introduction of this new science and the fact he doubted it would catch on or do much good. He should be around for some of the forensics shown today.
By limiting this piece to the one crime, it gave us more time to watch how this killer integrated himself in the lives of his victims and their families. A single father, he raised 6 children on his own. By the time he committed the Grace Budd killing his children were all adults. Their recounts in later years of their early lives at the hands of Fish is horrific but it is not covered in this film.
Instead we stay solely with Fish and watch his own torment, his appalling treatment of his own body. We never actually see him commit a crime, it is all implied. But the implication is as terrifying as the actual murder. In addition, his treatment of the victims families, after the crime, that is the most devastating as he writes them and gives graphic details of how he treated their loved ones.
Patrick Bauchau gave a credible performance of the man, Albert Fish. Great detail was given to keeping the film in period, since the crimes occurred in the latter part of the 1920’s. You are amazed that these people are so willing to turn their children over to this relative stranger, but you have to realize this was a different time and people were not as informed about the travesty of the human monster.
I was surprised this received an R rating for disturbing violent content and language but understand the rating on the premise of the graphic descriptions in Fish’s letters to the families. He was cannibalistic by nature and included these details in his letters.
I would have preferred they either covered more information about Fish, rather than skim over his background, or just went ahead and included his rather extensive crimes. Either way would have been fine and although this was a fairly decent film, I felt it lacked a more cohesive picture.