Monday, December 31, 2012

Under 250: The Grey

The Grey was a film I'd written off almost entirely.  As I'm sure you'll recall, The Grey had a seemingly omnipresent, incredibly annoying trailer last winter. It was known as "the one where Liam Neeson fights wolves," and if you're like me, you probably found yourself convinced this was Taken with animals: an absurd, testosterone-driven, man vs. wild face off featuring Neeson making grumbling threats at fanged beasts.  I didn't believe all the mid-year talk of the film being secretly great, but after seeing the film resurface on several 2012 wrap-ups, I queued up The Grey and prepared to battle the wolves.  Let this be a lesson: you really shouldn't underestimate Liam Neeson.  The Grey is a remarkably solid survival thriller boasting impressively strong performances from its suffering cast.  Neeson plays Ottway, one of the seven men who wake up in the inhospitable Alaskan wilderness upon surviving a plane crash.  Ottway is a struggling soul, a dour man suffering from suicidal impulses in the wake of a separation from his wife.  Though he seems to have nothing to live for, he takes responsibility for the survivors as they face not only the elements, but a territorial band of exceptionally dangerous wolves.  Though the film follows a fairly predictable path, The Grey is dark, uncompromising, and filled with many a memorable moment that never, ever paints a happy face on nature.     

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