Greyhawk is one of those movies where something happens, then a bunch of other stuff happens and then it ends just the way it started. While normally I wouldn't be too fond of this formula there is still something that can be said about this one. The movie opens up with a man and a woman getting dressed. Everything seems fairly normal, but then the tone suddenly shifts. We learn, through a barrage of subtle hints, that our leading man is blind. and he just paid for sex. Yeah, so if the apartment decor didn't make you feel for this guy then the money exchange certainly did. Let me warn you right now, Greyhawk isn't a happy movie nor does it try to be. Its just there, and if anything, its definitely a look into a life that I would have normally overlooked.
Greyhawk tells the story of Mal (Alec Newman), a grumpy military veteran who now lives with his one and only friend and guide dog, Quince. One day, after stopping off to a local pub for a quick drink, Mal is confronted by a gang of kids. Being the walking attitude that Mal is he curses them out and continues on his path. The group retaliates by stealing the only thing that he loves, his dog. Pretty messed up, right? Well, it gets worse. What follows is probably some of the saddest shit I have seen in a good while. We continue following Mal as he mopes around town, prints up fliers and hunts down any and every clue to his dog's disappearance. It's sad. Like Howard Bound sad. Except in this one the kid is thirty, has a drinking problem and oh yeah... he's fucking blind.
I'll be the first to admit, I am not a huge fan of character study movies, but as I mentioned before, I liked that I was treated to a type of people that I wouldn't normally notice. From what I've read since viewing Greyhawk, attacks on guide dogs are becoming increasingly reported in the United Kingdom. So, if anything, at least the film can help bring attention to an issue that is being somewhat ignored. There was just something about Greyhawk that worked for me though. Perhaps it was the idea of the urban quest that connected me so much to Mal. I mean, I'm not blind, but we are all impaired in one way or another and if someone was to hijack my cat I would be just as lost as he was. The symbol that is the dog could really be anything and everything that be hold close, and because of Mal's impairment his story as well as the cast of folks he meets make his journey that much more plausible.
While I did feel a huge connection to both the adventure and Mal, ultimately Greyhawk falls a little short. The story just doesn't dive deep enough for me, and while the screenplay is smart and the visual direction is increasingly strong there is so much more that could have been said about the human response to disabilities. Newman does deliver a compelling central performance, and he is an all-out star as he floats through an otherwise drab and forgetful cast. The surface has definitely been scratched, and I would, without a doubt, purchase a ticket to anything that follows this exceptional debut from both Guy and Matt Pitt, the director and writer.
So, do I think you should watch Greyhawk? Sure. I was pleasantly surprised with the overall spirit of the film, and while a lot of the feature is dark and gloomy, there is still a lot of hope and reality that shines through. The connection between pet and owner is great, and while there were no animals harmed during the making, I will be holding my cat a little bit tighter tonight. Newman's performance is worth the price of admission and the style the Pitts boys deliver is simply impressive. Greyhawk is now available on iTunes and it will also be available for purchase May 25th at most major retailers.