The Grey – Review

The Grey – Review

Review by FilmFella Lozz – 7.9/10

After the success of The A-Team in 2010, Joe Carnahan has teamed back up with leading man, Liam Neeson, for this grim wilderness tale. Where the A-Team and Smoking Aces delivered on the action, The Grey is much more focused on the psyche of man amongst men and the mental and physical attitude towards life and survival in the most tremendously difficult circumstances. This is a tough movie.

Liam Neeson is a man of very few words, living for no real reason, in an end of the earth job in middle of nowhere Alaska. He, along with the other scallywags, ex-cons and various bearded oil drillers alike, board a plane back to civilization, only for it to crash, leaving a handful of survivors. The men left are forced to fight for their lives against the terrain, minus temperatures, oh yeah…and a very large pack of wolves. It’s pretty much the only time you’d think, shit, I wish I’d just gone n’ died in the crash.

Obviously, Neeson takes the leader role, rallying the troops, saying what needs to be said to dying comrades and putting a plan in motion. Then you have the other sub-characters; the annoying, yet endearing one, the mischief-maker and the one who just wants to get back to his kids. Even though the characters aren’t really fleshed out, it doesn’t matter, because you are given a reason to care for these guys because they’re just in the shit. And it asks the question; ‘what the hell would you do?’.

Some of the movie kind of plays out like a stalk and slash flick, but with an unforgiving sense of realism. The wolves are a constant threat, sure, and they’re ready to bring the pain, but it’s not just about man verses wolf; it’s about man verses nature. It investigates the mental torture and anguish that these guys are put through; what they have to overcome to survive. If your endurance, your physical and mental strength, your will to survive ebbs away, the wolves’ll ‘ave you!

Shot almost entirely outside, the movie shows the landscape at its incredible and beautiful best, together with its absolute and unforgiving worst. The scenery captured is captivating, and some shots are really breathtaking. The plane crash is shot horrifically well. The chaos and the outright terror that spreads throughout the passengers when they know what’s about to happen feels incredibly real. Scarily real. Carnahan has a keen eye for what he wants to achieve visually whilst stimulating a sense of dread for his audience to feel.

Considering all the stuff that the characters have to deal with, the wolves were just that added bit or shit to deal with, but not the main antagonist. It’s the great outdoors in its entirety that’s the real relentless son of a bitch. There is a suggestion, late on in the movie, whereby Neeson turns to God for help. At this point, I could’ve blown a raspberry at the screen, but thankfully, Carnahan sticks with ambiguity, rather than taking sides.

The misery doesn’t let up, bar a minor section that allows us an avenue of empathy for the specific characters during a little bit of campfire banter. But other than that, it’s a rough ride for the audience. For the most part, it doesn’t make for effortless viewing, at all.

Taking into account that the movie could’ve taken it easy on us, and it didn’t (a plus point); together with some believable acting on display, I can’t take too much away for the wolf aesthetic. Although, by far, a much better job than Twi-shit. But that’s a very small dent, in what was an intriguing, exhilarating and exhausting 2 hours well spent.

Follow my tweets @filmfellalozz


4 Responses to The Grey – Review

  1. filmboy says:

    good review, agree entirely. Pity about the rather naff CG scene as they traversed the gorge on the ropes though, all looked very “Cliffhanger”

    • Thanks for the comments Filmboy. Yeah, I agree about the poo CGI – but the movie in its entirety is forgiven because the rest makes up for it. Don’t knock ole’ Cliffhanger – Gabe’s the man!

  2. Great review, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head there: “The misery doesn’t let up”, and “it’s a rough ride for the audience.” I likened Neeson’s character to a bear in my review; but it he had been a bear at least he might have taken a few wolves with him!

    • Thanks for the comments FilmsrRuss. Yeah, it was an exhausting watch – but worth it. I kinda wanted to see the glass-taped-to-the-bear-mitts fight too! What’s the link to your review? I’d like to have a read.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: