Director: Joe Carnahan
Cast: Liam Neeson, Dermont Mulroney
Released: January 27, 2012
Viewed in theaters: February 22, 2012
The Grey is my first 2012 release of my weekly movies. Now that I've seen all the Oscar nominated movies (the ones I wanted to see, anyway), my options are becoming a little more limited, but there are still a few movies out there that I am interested in seeing, this one included. For a movie that was released in January (a dumping ground for bad movies), it was surprisingly good.
Warning: there will be spoilers. I do recommend this movie, but I recommend it watching it without spoilers, so go see this movie before you read my review!
Liam Neeson pretty much plays a badass in most of his movies (Taken, anyone?), so why should this one be any different? He plays Ottway, who's part of an Alaskan oil drilling team whose job was to fend off any wildlife. He and the other crew are on a small plane when it crashes in the Alaskan wilderness. There are only eight survivors and one of them immediately dies from complications from the crash. Ottway takes the role as the leader of the group and tells everyone they need to start walking because nobody is going to be looking for them because they're too isolated where they are. There is snow for miles and miles and nothing but barren land. The movie's color scheme is literally its title. I thought it was smart when Ottway opens up luggage to find a hat to put on. I don't know why he wasn't wearing one in the first place, but good thinking on his part.
During the first night, while trying to start a fire, they come across a pack of wolves who are just a few feet away from them on the other side of the flames. The wolves, of course, are CGI and they look much better than those in the Twilight series. Ottway is very honest with the others (perhaps a little too honest), telling them that if they're in the wolves' territory, then the wolves will be hunting them and that they need to have someone up at night to keep an eye out for them.
Of the seven remaining survivors, the first one to go is attacked by a wolf when he takes a pee break during his watch. Those wolves are crafty! The others were sleeping and didn't even hear the attack. One of them proclaims that a wolf ate the guy and Ottway says, "He didn't eat him...he killed him!" He decides if they trek to the treeline which is miles ahead of them, then maybe they'll be out of the wolves territory and then the wolves won't feel threatened anymore. While they are trekking through the snow, the wolves appear out of the snow and attack the guy who's lagging behind. And then there were five...
Don't think all the men are killed by wolves. No, the next one to go dies from complications with being sick and having a nasty cough. You could say he was one of the lucky ones! The good news is the men managed to kill one of the wolves. The four remaining survivors come to a crevice they need to cross, so Ottway creates a makeshift rope for them to cross. Mulroney's character is the last to cross and one of his hands has been badly damaged by the wolves and he can't use it, so he ends up falling and crashing into the trees and falling some more before his body is dragged away by the wolves. Wolves: 5; Men: 1
Now the next guy to "die" is very interesting. We don't actually see him die, per se, he just sits down on a log by the river and decides to give up; that he would much rather have this gorgeous landscape to look at then to have to go back to his life.
And now we're down to our last two men: Ottway and another guy who gets caught in the current while a wolf attacked him. His foot gets stuck in a log at the bottom of the river and he drowns. Only Ottway is our last survivor and, remembering the poem "Into the Fray" to give him inspiration, he decides to take on the alpha wolf. With broken bottle glasses taped to one hand and an army knife in the other, he's prepared to pounce. Now I'm thinking the guy who had given up earlier is going to come back and help him kill the wolf, but no, just as Ottway and the wolf are about to fight till the death (and my money's on the wolf no matter how a badass Neeson's characters always are), the screen fades to black and the movie is over. I get the feeling we won't be having a sequel to this movie! At first I was annoyed that I didn't get to see the outcome, but I kind of like the ambiguity of it, the viewer kind of gets to decide if Ottway lived or not.
The plane crash and the situation reminded me of Alive and there's a scene in the movie where the survivors are around a campfire (can't remember exactly how many people were left at this point!) and one of them comments how they feel like they're in "that movie with that guy from Training Day in it." At first I was like, I don't remember Denzel Washington being in that movie, but obviously they meant Ethan Hawke..which I figured out a second later!