Notable Cast: Liam Neeson
There are certain actors that I simply follow because they are awesome. Liam Neeson certainly falls into this category. He can be an amazing actor. He can be awful too although I still don't think "Star Wars Episode I" was his fault, but he is always kicking ass and taking names. That's why watching a pack of wolves and the Alaskan winter try to survive Neeson had to be seen. My hopes were not up considering it was a man vs. nature film and those tend to all follow the same formula, but the stellar direction and the charming manliness of Neeson kick this film up to the next level and make "The Grey" a must see for any cult film fan.
Ottway (Neeson) has had a tough time lately. He pines for his lost wife and finds no comfort in killing the wolves that attack the drilling team up in the harsh climate of Alaska. What he doesn't realize is that his plane ride home, along with all of the other men, is going to be cut short...by the ground. Now a handful of survivors must take the advice of Ottway to try and survive the wilderness. It's not only the cold and lack of resources that are coming for their lives...but a pack of hungry wolves seem intent on their demise too.
|The gun is just a nice way for Neeson to kill someone.|
"The Grey" really embraces its details in ways that don't feel like its bombarding you with irrelevant information. Just the way that the setting is built with the snow, wind, and desolation instantly throws one into a panic mindset along with the characters. This great build of atmosphere (with a clever score that really uses space to its benefit) is pushed to extremes with believable characters that feel, for better and worse, like real people tossed into this horrible situation. Neeson certainly carries the flick - if I was in a bad situation, I would follow him to hell and back without a single second thought - with his great depth to a simple character, but he is massively supported by a great secondary cast too. Love em or hate em, these guys make you feel like you're there with them. It works so well in this way.
|This look says "RUN YOU STUPID BASTARD! RUN!"|
Don't go into "The Grey" expecting some clever artistic look at the man vs. nature genre (it has its merits particularly with how his memories of his wife and dad play out as a thread right to its controversial ending), because the film plays out much more simply than that. It's graciously effective at building pace and atmosphere even if its somewhat forced and fans of Neeson are going to eat up that character with mouthfuls of smiles. Not for everyone, but it was much better than I would have ever expected.
Written By Matt Reifschneider