MOVIE REVIEW: THE GREY
Director: Joe Carnahan
Screenplay: Joe Carnahan & Ian Mackenzie Jeffers
Liam Neeson as Ottway
Dallas Roberts as Hendrick
James Badge as Dale Lewenden
Dermot Mulroney as Talget
Frank Grillo as Diaz
Nonso Anozie as Burke
Joe Anderson as Flannery
TRT: 117 minutes, (R) for violence/disturbing content including bloody images, and for pervasive language.
Peacock Feathers: 3 out of 5
By: Marcus Thorpe
Wolves are cool, unless they are chasing you through the woods trying to kill you! Liam Neeson is cool too, and he carries this cast of no-names through the woods and through one heck of an entertaining movie. It has everything you could want in a movie that you know isn’t going to be great (does that make sense?). It has some drama, a villain that scares you throughout the movie, some conflict within the band of characters, and a satisfying ending. Oh yeah, and the wolves are pretty cool!
There is a group of men that you don’t want to cross, oil-rig roughnecks that work hard, and play even harder. They have finished off another long project and are getting ready to get out of town for a while, back to their families, back home, and away from the freezing temperatures. A large group boards a plane headed for anywhere but here’s Ville in blinding snow storm. These guys don’t get along from the start; they are arguing on the plane a bit, that is when they are thrown together through Mother Nature’s fury. The plane goes down, there are few survivors and they are miles from anything that resembles civilization. The group of 7 tries to scramble together, they gather everything they can to try and stay warm and get a plan together to survive. But they can’t even agree on that, once again fighting and arguing. Ottway, a sniper whose job it was to pick off wolves as they worked takes the lead. He directs people what to do, where to go, and where they are going next. That move, away from the wreckage when day breaks and towards the woods to get away from what they come face to face with, a pack of huge, scary, killing machines, the wolves. On the path to get away they are hunted by these creatures who only want one thing, blood. Along the way there is strife in the group, there are pitfalls along the way. The question isn’t will they all make it, the only thing left to wonder, will any of them?
Remember when Liam Neeson was doing movies like Les Miserables, and Kinsey? It seems those days are behind him, now taking on some butt kickin’ roles like Taken, and Star Wars, and now The Grey. Don’t get me wrong Neeson holds his own in those roles, and does here too, it is just funny how as this veteran actor has gotten, well more veteran, he has taken on this physical persona that is a quite interesting of a career move. He is very good in this film. He demands attention every time he opens his mouth. As a man who has lost everything when he lost the love of his life, he is torn between living a life he doesn’t want to fight for his life against the animal he once hunted. Neeson is an imposing figure on camera; he towers over his fellow actors both literally and fugitively. He has chosen a very strong role, and one that I am sure was quite taxing on him, he sails through each scene with ease, and delivers. As for everyone else, the band of not-so-merry-men to Neeson’s Robin Hood, they are sprinkled in quite well. The face you are bound to recognize is Dermot Mulroony as one of the survivors, he is solid, but the one you will remember is Frank Grillo who refuses to play by Neeson’s rules. He is gritty, and does a great job as playing the wild card in the deck of survivors. They are not really actors, in fact they are computer generated, but the wolves look great. This is where the film could have taken a turn for the worse, instead they played it right, it looks clean, they are menacing and it is a win.
Direction & Writing:
The writing team has a tough task; there aren’t many wins for the human characters here. Sometimes that can be a real turnoff for an audience, they want hope, they want small victories, they want somewhat of a happy ending. Instead this group gets beat up time and time again, but for some reason, it really works. The direction of Joe Carnahan, who also wrote the much less interesting A-Team, did a great job in the plane crash scene. The shot of Neeson walking up and seeing the wreckage is amazing, and drives home what they will soon face. The wolves make the film, they look really good, they move the way you want CG to move and react. It is nearly 2 hours, but the team pulls you along with some amazing shots, great action scenes, and finish it off in a fashion that doesn’t make you feel cheated at all for buying into some very intense and sometimes hard to watch stuff. If I had one criticism, and that is my job right, it would be a few of the flashback scenes. They seemed a little forced, and disconnect you from the story. They are trying to pull at your heart strings a bit, and show off some creativity, it just misses the mark a bit.
Action movies can be really, really bad. If done right, they can shine and even though the title is Grey, this one is full of life. They find a way to get inside you head and make you say to yourself, what if this was me, could I survive or would I give in? Not every action movie even cares to do that, they just want to give you body count, flashes of action and cheep thrills and get you out of the theatre so the next group can come in. Grey cares if you care, and in the end you will.
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So what did you think? Comment on my blog, or give the movie your grade below!Posted by on 01/27 at 03:32 PM
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