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Review: Greyhound – “Taut, tight, and aggressive”

Greyhound is another landmark film in the cinema versus VOD debate.

I thought the trailer was poor. Clunky CGI. Washed out grey. Next thing we hear? It’s heading to Apple TV+ I have to say. I wasn’t overly surprised.

With COVID-19 raging and the uncertainty of if/when cinemas may re-open, it seemed to make business sense.

Sure, much like Palm Springs launching on HULU exclusively, many will just use a free trial. You get 7 days for Apple TV+, & a whole month for HULU. But this is a footfall driver. The whole point is, you may like what you see and then hang around for a while.

I’m not sure on either trial I’ll do that, but the fact that a new Tom Hanks film debuts on VOD seems significant. I’m fascinated by what might then follow, as films continue to trailblaze the idea. This is no one-off now. It’s there for good. No £19.99 rental of ‘The Hunt’ or ‘Trolls: World Tour’. It feels like exceptional value.

Once I got over that, I really enjoyed what I saw.

Blackout blinds and noise-cancelling headphones helped me soak up the atmosphere. But the film is so brief, I’ll re-explore with the sound blaring out, too. It doesn’t waste any time & is exceptionally economical.

The washed-out grey works far better than the trailer suggests. The fact we’re not chopping here there and everywhere, as trailers do, means we can immerse ourselves in the surroundings.

I’ve recently got a HUE sync box that mirrors the HDMI signal and then mirrors your HUE bulbs accordingly. Check out the YouTube video that sold it to me of Kylo Ren firing up his lightsaber in the forest. The top right of the TV goes red in sync.

Here, due to the subdued colours, it’s light blues and very very subtle — until BAM! Missile ahead. A glimmer of orange and then back to darkness. It reflects the film really well.

The film itself is taut, tight, and aggressive. 92 minutes feels unheard of in modern times. Especially for a war film. But it uses that to its advantage by soaking up the tension.

I’m due a rewatch of ‘Crimson Tide’, but you get a similar sense of claustrophobia. Maybe ‘Das Boot’ would be a better comparison.

It’s hard to compare to both of those films, as their longevity is part of their legacy. It’s not 1995, anymore. Films are everywhere and consumed in a different way. Will people watch ‘Greyhound’ approvingly in 25 years?

Either way, as the soundtrack hails each sub that disappears under the waves, there’s a growing sense of dread. I’d like to think I’d come back for Blake Neely’s score, which is pure cinema.

50 minutes in, there’s a great tracking shot along the top of the sub. The music just elevated it and added to the sense of pace. Excellent work. Especially in a genre that contains some of Hans Zimmer’s best work. Competition is tough.

I realise I’m still far too uninformed about actual things that have happened, especially in the WW2 era and how they link together. This will encourage a read up, on some personal blind spots, & more than likely turbocharge that rewatch of Denzel & Gene sparring.

I’m glad I get to do it in the comfort of my home, with Tom Hanks — steady, & stoic as ever — leading me through. It’s great to see Stephen Graham continuing his run in bigger things, too.

The grim reality of how tight and tactical these battles would’ve been is captured, writ large. A sea burial, in all its actual awkwardness, stands out. But there’s a beauty too, as we head above the clouds, to see unpolluted air, in shimmering green.

I also really liked the way Elisabeth Shue appeared as reflections. Another case of an underwritten female role, but using ‘The Perfect Storm’ trope of seeing her in reflection, or memories, was unexpectedly poignant.

Thoroughly recommended. Watch it as large and as loud as you can.

Anyone for a game of Battleships?

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