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The Grey

February 6, 2012

The trailers misrepresented The Grey. The film is not about Liam Neeson punching wolves. The Grey is about living, dying and faith.  Liam and the other three-dimensional characters wax poetic between wolf attacks. This film is more The Tree of Life than The Edge.

Liam Neeson deserves an Oscar nomination for his commanding performance. A similar companion is Russel Crowe’s Maximus in Gladiator. You never once doubt these men as they live for nothing yet choose to survive.

The cast is stellar as well. Dermot Mulroney casts aside his rom-com persona and gives depth to a quiet man. Frank Grillo (Warrior)  is the doubter of the bunch  and proves that he is an actor to be watched. Dallas Roberts, Nonso Anozie and Joe Anderson are the quiet, gentle and loud group members who give their characters unexpected depth.

The Grey is a mature film from a man who is known to make bombastic dude flicks. Joe Carnahan has succeeded in directing a mature and philosophical movie. The vistas provide a beautiful view for the ensuing grey material. The movie could have been a black and white action film but manages to ask questions and provide character depth that is unexpectedly poignant.

The wolves are secondary to the story. There is some backlash from animal rights groups complaining that the wolves are made villains. The wolves are not the bad guys. They are animals who are protecting their turf. They kill to protect not for pleasure. They are like death pursuing each character. You can’t avoid death but you can choose how to deal with it. This movie is about the characters dealing with unlikely survival.

There are a couple false moments in the film that take away from the realism. There is a strange forty-foot jump and an ending after the credits that takes away from the film. I dug the philosophical direction the movie takes and the drama was a pleasant surprise. It gives the bleakness a reason to exist.

Do not expect a gore fest. Do not expect Neeson headlocking wolves. Expect a tense film that attempts to move beyond the limits of the action genre.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. johnleavengood permalink
    February 6, 2012 2:26 pm

    I was hoping for more of a throat-chop-fest like in Taken. Se la vie.

    But really, I’ve heard a lot of flack about this movie. I think people are simply reacting to how the movie fails to match the trailer, whereas you have chosen to assess the movie at hand despite this annoying and all too often misdirecting marketing ploy.

    Way to stay objective and share insights into a cool movie and way to NOT whine about the lack of action.


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