The Grey

22 Jun

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The Grey stars Liam Neeson as Ottway, the leader of a group of oil workers whose plane crash-lands in Alaska. There are six other survivors who follow him as he tries to guide them to safety, while a pack of Wolves intent on killing them follow their every step.

At the start of the film we learn that Ottway is suicidal. At one stage he is stood with a rifle in his mouth and his hand on the trigger. However, he doesn’t go through with it and we soon get to see him at work; he’s a huntsman that kills Wolves to protect the other workers. When the workers are aboard a plane that crashes, there are only seven survivors. When it becomes clear they are on Wolf territory, Ottway assumes the lead. He knows a lot about the creature that has now become their enemy, and so takes it upon himself to helm their battle for survival.

The Wolves being viscous, and protective of their territory, start to make regular appearances in attempts to kill members of the group. We get to see some impressive savage work by them, which is well shot and does a good job of conveying the fearsome nature of the beasts and the grim situation that the survivors are in.

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However, despite how well these scenes were shot, The Grey raised a question for me that I never really expected to ponder in my life; “How many times can you watch a group of Wolves attack a group of men before you become bored?” Turns out that, for me at least, the answer is around one and a half times. There are occasions where the Wolf attacks seem to come out of nowhere and, presumably, the effect of these is to startle the viewer. However, when you know that there are sporadic attacks throughout the movie, the surprise element is lost and so the dramatic technique fails.

Fortunately, The Grey has a little bit more to fall back on than just “men fight Wolves”. The characters have each been written with some attempt to give them depth. We know they have families and we know they miss them. This is a credible attempt to add some emotion into the survival story and I’m glad the writers took this route, instead of just making it a bit jumpy with some action thrown in. That said, I still struggled to care all that much about the people, but I do like the attempts to make them feel human and it did add a little more interest to the story.

In doing some reading around the film, I gather that some critics were not impressed by the end of the movie. Well, despite my not-completely-positive feelings towards the film as a whole, I can say the end was one thing I did like. It felt like a proper finish to a journey that we were taken on with the lead character and was well judged.

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I didn’t really find there to be any stand out performances other than Liam Neeson. It would also be fair to say there are no poor character portrayals on display here either, but there was nobody that made me sit up and really take notice. Neeson does a good job in the lead role and clearly the whole movie is geared around him.

One thing I did find really impressive was the cinematography. Some of the shots look absolutely astounding and there were occasions where I did find myself thinking about how good this movie must have looked on the big screen.

Overall, I didn’t like The Grey as much as I wanted to. There are certainly some positives; in the end I did like the journey that Ottway had taken and some of the scenery is stunning. However, I quite simply did not find the story all that interesting. I certainly think it has a decent premise but I felt at times it jumped to survival movie clichés and established plot conventions too easily.  Neeson’s performance is good but the rest of the cast, whilst being adequate, are also largely forgettable. I think ultimately, that would also be the line I’d use to sum up my feelings for the film as a whole.

6/10

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5 Responses to “The Grey”

  1. Joakim June 22, 2013 at 12:49 #

    This was a great Movie!

    • Richard Burns June 22, 2013 at 14:15 #

      Thanks for the comment, but I’ll have to disagree with you on this one.

      • Joakim June 22, 2013 at 14:20 #

        We all have different preferences when it comes to film:)

      • Richard Burns June 23, 2013 at 10:43 #

        Absolutely, that’s what makes them so fun to talk about

  2. At The Back June 24, 2013 at 08:19 #

    I didn’d mind this one. As far as recent Neeson action movies go, I didn’t think this one was too bad but agree about getting bored with seeing the same thing over and over again.

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