The Grey: An Exquisite Movie Review

The Grey: An Exquisite Movie Review

So I watched The Grey a couple nights ago with Chris, Cary, Brazle, Geoff, Shannon, and Geoff and Shannon’s unborn child.  I enjoyed it.  NOTE: If you’re looking for a thrilling, Taken-type of action movie, move along.  This thing is more akin to The Edge, except it wasn’t written by David Mamet and didn’t star Anthony Hopkins or Alec Baldwin. Basically, a bunch of bad dudes are flying across the Alaskan wilderness when the commercial jet they’re on crashes into the frozen tundra below.  Good thing the suicidal wolf expert (Neeson) survives, because the survivors soon find out their main threat is neither severe cold, frostbite, dehydration, starvation, hypothermia, nor shame; nope, its wolves.  The humans are in the wolves’ territory, and the wolves are mad.  Oh wait, I guess one guy’s main threat is the altitude or something, although they aren’t in the mountains.  Ummm….hypoxia.  That’s what he died from.  Poor guy couldn’t get enough blood to his brain.  My point is, these people crash and have to survive, just like in The Edge.

There’s also a hint of The Thing, what with there being a finite group of people stranded in a frozen wilderness slowly getting picked off by wild animals/an alien.  Actually, I’m not sure this wasn’t The Thing: Alaska.  I mean, the wolves sounded like freaking lions mixed with a Tyrannosaurus Rex, so its possible they were transforming off screen into an alien that sounds like a Tyrannosaurus Rex/Lion hybrid and then attacking the humans.  If this film doesn’t win an Academy Award for Best Sound, then I will give you a full refund for this blog.  Having said that, I’m fully aware this review mightn’t have given you adequate information  yet to make it clear as to whether or not you would like the movie, so here are some directives from me to you that I’m sure will be helpful:

If you like wilderness survival tales, go watch.

If you like gorgeous cinematography (I loved lots of the shots in this one), go watch.

If you like Liam Neeson and are giddy each time he releases another crummy January movie, go watch.

If you never knew there was such a thing as an omega wolf (think opposite of alpha wolf) and want to see how one is strategically utilized by a wolfpack against humans in the wilderness, go watch.

If you live in Minnesota and are a fan of the Timberwolves, go watch.

If you are a fan of Teen Wolf, go watch.

If you are Kevin Costner, Sarah Palin, or a fan of either, go watch.

If you are a fan of pervasive use of the F word, go watch.

If you want to see Liam Neeson fight a real wolf, destroy the alpha wolf, take over a wolf-pack, build a helicopter out of wilderness trees, and fly to Las Vegas, go watch. NOTE: some plot elements from the previous sentence might have been left on the cutting room floor, but you’ll have to watch to find out!!!!

If you liked The American with George Clooney, go watch.  I found both to have some gorgeous photography, albeit of drastically different subjects.

If you’re on Team Jacob, go watch.

Here’s what really strikes me about the movie – everyone I know who saw it has a slightly different take on what the message is.  No one can fully agree on what the takeaway was supposed to be, and it can be quite interesting to see how your impression compares with that of others who’ve seen it.  I guess its like a book club in that respect.  Wait, who am I kidding?  Nobody wants to talk about existential philosophy crap, nobody likes book clubs, and no one wants to discuss the juxtaposition of giving up versus continuing the fight.  We just want to see Liam Neeson punch wolves in the face.  Rest assured, if that’s what you want, that’s what you will get with The Grey, along with fantastic visuals and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and LOTS of F words.

3 thoughts on “The Grey: An Exquisite Movie Review

  1. I would say The Grey was far and away the worst Liam Neesen film, but he hasn’t made many bad ones, so that doesn’t mean much.
    The plodding formulaic way the humans were picked off one by one was painful, hard to watch, a pale shadow of The Thing.
    The meaningless and predictable ways most of the humans die is equally painful.
    The ending completely and totally redeems the film. In most films the portrait hero is courageous from beginning to end and survives against all odds by virtue of that courage. Neesen is the perfect anti-hero. The film opens with him being so self-loathing he is suicidal, but lacks the courage to actually complete the act. He is a bad leader and under his bad leadership everyone in his charge dies horrible deaths. But by the end of the film he has been changed by the experience, found his courage, and fights to the bitter end.
    There seems to be some confusion about what happens at the end of the film, here is my take:
    His comrade gives up, accepts death.
    Neesen appears to be waiting to freeze to death, looking over the pictures of the fallen, lamenting his failure.
    Neesen discovers he is in the wolves’ den, and his resignation is complete.
    The camera pans past an IV, and reveals the room where he is remembering his wife is a hospital room. She was dying and is now dead. Neesen’s grief is not that of a spurned lover, but a devote widower. His wife’s encouragement that “everything is going to be okay” is not a hopeful affirmation of life, but a quiet acceptance of death. That death is taking her and that is okay.
    Neesen gears up for one last stand. He knows he has no chance, but that doesn’t matter, it is the fight that counts (this is a primary theme of the movie, though you don’t know that until the last five minutes)
    credits roll
    You see a few frames of what looks like Neesen and the wolf still breathing laying together. Perhaps they have killed eachother? Perhaps Neesen killed the wolf and will survive somehow? I don’t know. But I don’t think it matters.

    My personal narrative is one of desperate, ruthless, vicious hope. Regardless of the outcome, I believe it is the will to persevere that makes us who we are and makes life worth living. For me this film was a very powerful affirmation of that philosophy, it’s just a damn shame I had to sit through the first 90 minutes of it first.

  2. The real question is, will airlines keep allowing those miniature glass liquor bottles now that they know we can use them to turn our fists into deadly weapons?!?!?!?!

    • In response to Matt… I think the liquor bottles they use now are actually plastic, so that was an embellishment for the sake of Liam Neeson having no other supplies. But this truly is an exquisite review. I just wish that the title had been “Running from Wolves,” I think that’s more accurate. Although there was some animated film a couple years ago about wolves called “Alpha and Omega” maybe this could have been “Alpha and Omega” revisited. I’m just glad the unborn child slept through most of it, I would have liked to do the same.

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