Richard Attenborough's passion weighs so heavily on every frame of Grey Owl, the true story of a pioneering conservationist in the Canadian wilderness, that it tends to smother the characters. Pierce Brosnan is stiff, deli... more »berate and terse as Archie Grey Owl, a part Scotch Native American adopted and raised by a Canadian Ojibwa tribe. He gets by as a trapper, hunting guide, and sometime writer, but becomes an internationally revered activist in the 1930s when he publishes a book on the vanishing wilderness. Annie Galipeau is the native Canadian woman who sees through his tough hide and secretive quiet: "Yeah, I know. You're a loner. You have to live in the wilderness. I hear it everyday." But she doesn't pierce his most zealously guarded secret, a distracting subplot that most of the audience figures out in no time. Attenborough's hushed reverence for Archie's dream slows an already lugubrious drama, and Brosnan all too often comes off as a walking cliché, his flat speech and long, slow stares a Brit's idea of a movie Indian. The real star of the film is the magnificent Canadian wilderness: carpets of forests, clear crystal lakes, and vast blue skies. There's no doubting Attenborough's good intentions, and his love for the wilderness is felt in every gorgeous frame, but somewhere in the forest he loses track of his story. --Sean Axmaker« less
Duane S. (superpoet) from FORT WORTH, TX Reviewed on 5/18/2008...
This is a great movie. It is a biography of Archie Belaney As a young boy in England and living with spinster aunts and absent parents, he dreamed of being an Indian and living in the wilderness. He leaves England for Canada. A local chief gives him the name Grey Owl and he becomes a well-known trapper and guide in the area. As he writes articles about the wilderness, he is asked to write a book and does. He falls in love with a rich Indian girl "from the town." Upon the success of his book, he goes on a "book tour" in England and is asked to meet the royal family.
His real life as an Englishman is not discovered until after he dies.
A sleeper that should NOT be missed.
Joanna Daneman | Middletown, DE USA | 08/05/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a film that ended up being shown on airplane flights and rented out in video stores. Sad, because though it might not have been noticed in cinemas, Grey Owl is a well-made, well-told interesting story that is acted to perfection by Pierce Brosnan. This is one of those smaller films that really stays with you.Grey Owl is based on an real-life story of a native guide in the Canadian wilderness. An early conservationist, he struggled to get the public's attention to the loss of many of Canada's wild animals such as the beaver. But Grey Owl had a secret that, when discovered, threatens to derail his crusade to save the native Canadians and the wilderness.This movie is about all that and much more. Grey Owl is fascinating, complex person, and Brosnan's acting brings him to life incredibly well. Don't miss it."
A Surprise Gem
Jeff Renner | Sammamish, WA USA | 05/25/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I rented this video on a whim; I'd never heard of Grey Owl and had more than a little difficulty picturing Pierce Brosnan as a believable Indian. I was transfixed by the story of Grey Owl, and pleasantly surprised by Brosnan's excellent portrayal of this complicated but important figure in conservation. It's a movie I've since purchased, and one I enjoy every time I watch it. Having done a fair amount of reading of Grey Owl's works after my first viewing, I've learned this is a moderately accurate portrayal of a complicated figure. It doesn't reveal all of his warts, but the focus of this film is rightly not just Grey Owl as a person, but his conversion and ultimate contribution to conservation. The public has a tendency to view heroes (or anyone) in black and white terms, and is notoriously uni-dimensional in their views of such people. Grey Owl (ironically, given his name) suffered that same fate. It's a story well worth watching and watching again. The cinematography alone is a treat for the eyes."
A GEM HANDLED WITH PASSION
steven jongeward | New Mexico | 03/10/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Pure poetry in motion is Richard Attenborough's GREY OWL, a beatifully acted and filmed true account story. Although some may consider Pierce Brosnan an aquired taste, here he taps into the talent he displayed years ago in an early John McTiernan film - NOMADS. Not only does Brosnan rely on the 'less is more' fundamentals - he also seems to color the character of Archie Grey Owl(a man with a past) with a pathos seldom seen by todays top box office male stars. As for Attenborough's direction - it to is careful, deliberate and completely poetic. As he did in CHAPLIN, Attenborough incorporates vintage footage into the story to create a perfect 'true story' feel. The Canadian backdrop is filmed with a glorious reverence. Nothing is pompous or 'lugubrious' about this film, as another reviewer stated. Instead, the thrust of this picture is one of heartfelt grandure -- told with a very delicate hand with extremely convincing performances all around. Sure there is a subplot - but it takes the viewer on a journey with the character and provides ample emotion and tension. Annie Galipeau plays a young modern native Canadian, who sees in Archie a chance to connect to ancient roots and feelings. She brings to her character a sense of passion for things only known as legend and provides a soothing metaphor for Brosnans hiddeness and angst. A scene involving Grey Owl and the elders of several Indian Nations hits with such force it invokes emotion not seen much in todays multi-plex market. Although this film seems to have gone straight to the shelves -- it seems far more worthy of a big screen outing than so many other lesser and far more cliched efforts."
Steven Hellerstedt | 09/12/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Pierce Brosnan is very good in the title role, and newcomer Annie Galipeau is delightful as his young wife. The film makers squeeze every ounce of drama out of Grey Owl's life. The dvd comes with a clutch of short interviews with cast and crew, a short "On Location With" video and, most delightfully, two 10-minutes films featuring the real Grey Owl, made in the 1930s. A pleasant enough film with some moving scenes between Galipeau and Brosnan, although non-environmentalists may ask what all the fuss is about.. "
Keep An Open Mind
Kris Carlson | Fenton, MI United States | 03/12/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I must admit that when I first saw this DVD jacket at a video store I scoffed at it. Pierce Brosnan play an Native American? Yeah, right. Last night I was just about to go to bed and this movie came on. I said to myself, I've got to see this. As I watched I became intrigued by the subtle hint that something was amiss about the Grey Owl character. It was very late at night, but I was not sleepy because this movie is incredible.
This is a moving story based on the actual life of Archibald Stansfeld Belaney. It is very well acted, written and directed. If you know nothing about the life of Archie Grey Owl, you will be amazed. There are some scenes in this movie that are very touching and powerful. For example, when Pony falls through the ice and Grey Owl rescues her. Also, when Grey Owl tells Pony his secret, her reaction is heart warming and powerful. To reveal too much about the story line is to spoil the film for someone unfamiliar with the life of a very interesting man.
I watch a lot of movies and this one is really very good; and certainly worth the $8.99 asking price, in my opinion. As for the DVD, I do not have it. Based on the other reviews, there are 2 10 minute inteviews with the real Grey Owl; and to me, this is enough to purchase the DVD."