Keep It Reel Reviews

Reel People. Reel Reviews.

The Grey (2012)

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By: Staff Writer Thomas Balgairies

Rated: R

1 hr 57 mins

This is the part where I admit my love for wolves. I find them to be truly majestic creatures. After seeing this movie I’m perfectly happy loving them from very far away. I think just about everyone who saw a preview or trailer for this movie expected to see Liam Neeson fist fighting wolves for about an hour and a half. Well there is some wolf fighting, but if you’re expecting a straight up action film you will be fairly disappointed. What you get instead is a gripping story about a group of men struggling to survive against a group of overly aggressive wolves, and I’ll be the first to say I actually preferred that over straight up action.

The movie begins on a far away drill site in what I believe is Alaska. You find Liam Neeson (Shawshank Redemption, Taken) fairly depressed and even suicidal. As he’s about to pull the trigger he hears the howling of wolves which makes him decide to hold off on ending his life. It is the end of the work contract when Neeson and a large portion of the workers find themselves on a return flight to civilization. Right off the bat you can tell that everyone on this plane is in dire need of human contact as they are all super excited to get back to their respective homes. Unfortunately, many of them will never get to see them. The plane unexpectedly begins to malfunction as the penetrating cold makes its way into the interior. The malfunction causes the plane to crash killing all except about eight men including Neeson. They quickly find themselves deep in wolf territory and must struggle to fight them off in an attempt to get back to civilization.

Being a survival film, you would think that there would be a great deal of character exposition for each of the characters so that the audience may become attached to them. Well this film decides to be an exception for about three fourths of the movie I didn’t know them name of a single character outside of Neeson’s. Yet I still cared about them. Shortly after the plane crash the survivors find a man inside of the plane that is severely wounded. I didn’t know his name; I didn’t know his back story, so there was no reason for me to care about him. Yet I found myself on the verge of tears as he and Neeson talked all the way to his death. This is the strength of this film, the performances. Every character is clearly defined by actions and not words, and I think that is what sets this movie apart from other survival stories.   The setting is both gorgeous and deadly with the howling wind and downpour of snow being a constant threat. The cinematography is amazing and shows all the beauty that the Alaskan countryside can offer. Another surprising aspect of this film is the sound. As mentioned before there is a huge amount of wind during this movie and the sound designers take full advantage of this. In many scenes you don’t hear everything the characters say due to the weather conditions and I think this makes you feel more entrenched in the film.

Overall, The Grey is an exhilarating and tense ride that has you gripped from beginning to end. The only downside to this film is that I started seeing wolf eyes everywhere and that made going to sleep a little more challenging needed to be. Oh and one more thing, Liam Neeson can do anything.

9.0out of 10

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