The Grey Review

By Darrin Jones / January 27

Ingredients: If you like the tone down, underwhelming actions of Liam Neeson in Unknown, the gritty man vs. nature environment of The Edge, and the long trudging through the snow scenes of The Day After Tomorrow, you will like this movie.

The Grey is a ‘man vs. nature’ survival story all the way to its core but, unfortunately, it doesn’t really go anywhere beyond that. Ottway (as played by Liam Neeson) works for an oil drilling company in Alaska where his only job is to kill wild wolves before they attack any of the company workers. Though this sounds like a terrific setup to establish Ottway as a total badass, instead the character is very quiet and introspective; Ottway alludes to his previous wrong doings and how he grieves for the loss of his wife but that is just glossed over and never fully developed in any way. While the drilling team, Ottway included, are flying out of Alaska, their plane suddenly crashes leaving only Ottway and a handful of others alive. The survivors discover that they are in wolf territory and must try to find their way back to civilization while fighting for their lives against their furry foes and the freezing landscape itself.

And that’s about it, the rest of the movie is just them moving from spot to spot lighting fires for warmth and dreading the next wolf attack. Nothing is ever really known about the characters, they don’t even know each other’s full names and one scene even makes a point of this. I couldn’t recall anyone in particular other then Ottway, and that’s for obvious reasons, but really you’re not missing much. The characters never get a chance to expand on themselves, their lives, or their predicaments. The survivors only get into a few early arguments over what to do next and their morale immediately drops to zero when the first member is killed by a wolf early on. This will also sets up the repeating pattern that will get old very fast: wolves appear, someone dies, wolves appear, someone dies. On the other hand, the wolves are treated as an overall looming threat instead of some sort of horrible monster that’s slowly stalking them, which I rather liked. When the wolves appear it’s sudden, when they attack it’s vicious, and when they retreat they completely disappear. 

The most glaring problem with this movie is that it’s a story about the survival of the fittest and when Liam Neeson is on that list its pretty obvious who ‘the fittest’ will turn out to be. The harsh, icy environment is greatly underused as well. Even though the group is always on the verge of freezing to death while navigating a forest, the wolves are still the only real threat and, as I said before, they only appear when they’re ready to widdle down the cast again. The characters are just there and Liam Neeson is just too quite and subdued. The long marches through the snowy land get tedious and we don’t have anytime to attach ourselves to anyone before the wolves sink their fangs into them. In all, the movie succeeded in realistically portraying a handful of men trying to survive in a harsh environment while under constant attack but it was still lacking anything to really hook you in. Also, if anyone has not already heard, if you do see this movie stay through the credits as it has one last scene afterwards. Whether the scene is really worth staying through the credits or not is a bit of a grey area. Eh, see what I did there?

1 comment:

  1. So,even Liam can't save this film? Kind of disappointing :-(