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The Grey (2011)

November 25, 2013

MY CALL:  You feel the gravity!  These wolves make those Twilight wolves feel like over-sized Pomeranians.  But, joking aside, behind all of the butch manliness of the premise there is something plainly cathartic in their persistence and it resonates more powerfully as the movie endures along with a score that will echo scenes through your mind.  IF YOU LIKE THIS WATCHThe Edge (1997), The Ghost and the Darkness (1996)—but neither are as deep or affecting.  The Grey is really far from a mach-up of the two, and clearly not The Edge Part 2: Return to Alaska or Lost: Going Arctic.  If you liked seeing Neeson as a certified bad-ass, then see Taken (2008) if you missed it.  OTHER REVIEWSThe Hof also wrote up a review on this movie.

In case you weren’t already sold by Taken, in the opening minutes of this movie Liam Neeson (Wrath of the Titans, Battleship) is introduced as a loner and a certified bad-ass.  He doesn’t want to share his feelings or chat.  He just wants to hang out at his drilling rig at the end of the world sniping timber wolves (his job) to keep a cadre of socially undesirable grifters from becoming canine Adkins dietary supplements.  En route to Anchorage for some off-time their plane goes down in a fiery piecemeal mess.  Naturally, Neeson responds in fine form, as calmly as he can, to stay alive and help the other panicked, shocked or near-dead crash victems.

Early in the movie Neeson encounters a terribly wounded passenger who he informs “you’re going to die” and guides him through it as comfortably as possible.  While touching, this was very difficult to watch and I was as wet-cheeked as the onlooking supporting cast during the not so brief scene.  Serious mood shit, people.  Back to business, Neeson is orating manly reality checks about how the only thing that will find them is “freezing to death” unless they move and take fate into their own hands.  But wait, Wolf Kibble is another option.

The wolves, as suggested by the trailer, function as a blanket antagonist to our crash survivors rivaled only by the survivors’ own fear and hopelessness.  The wolf attacks are handled well.  They’re brutal, but viewers are spared wide angles depicting suffering and hard-to-look-at shots.  Although some images of the aftermath are briefly presented—often excluding the victem’s likely mutilated face.

Other crash survivors include Frank Grillo (Mother’s Day, Warrior), who plays the whining defeated pessimist, Dermot Mulroney, Dallas Roberts and Joe Anderson.  They all play their parts well as they take orders and receive threats and half-time coaching tirades from Neeson.

“This is just one of those wild stories you end up telling at a party with a girl in your lap.”

This movie features many gorgeous yet often intimidating shots punctuated by the ominous sound of an unforgiving wind birthed of cruel climate.  The faces of the men feature a commanding range of forlorn desperation, but somehow they continue to find the strength and persist as their bodies are punished; weakened from serial attacks, malnutrition, weather and a most challenging terrain.  Meanwhile will is replaced by desperation with the subsequent loss of each comrade among their dwindling numbers—and some of the deaths will affect you.

This film is worthy.  You will feel the gravity!

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