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The Grey [DVD]
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Liam Neeson leads an unruly group of oil-rig roughnecks when their plane crashes into the remote Alaskan wilderness. Battling mortal injuries and merciless weather, the survivors have only a few days to escape the icy elements and a vicious pack of rogue wolves on the hunt before their time runs out.
The plane crashes (boy, does it crash) in the remote Alaskan nowhere, and the rough-and-tumble oil wildcatters who survive must fight their way to safety. That in itself might be enough from which The Grey could fashion a suspenseful thrill-ride, but the movie has one more ace up its sleeve. Wolves! A pack of them, starving and considerably irritated that these outsiders have blundered into their territory. And while it is true that most real-world wolves are hardly man-eaters, director Joe Carnahan and cowriter Ian Mackenzie Jeffers are really not all that interested in reality. Despite some hair-raising moments and a healthy spattering of gore, The Grey is an existential action picture, and the wolves function only as all-purpose predator (being computer-generated, they never really look real anyway). What's really at stake are the souls of these men--how they get along together, and how they face death. Yes, there is always something faintly absurd hanging around this movie; it's like a Jack London story adapted by Luc Besson. But out of its pulpy mash, Carnahan extracts something gutsy. It certainly helps that he's got the mighty Liam Neeson on board as the most capable of the survivors; Neeson exudes the kind of authority that the average action hero can only play-act. Dallas Roberts and Dermot Mulroney add colour, and Frank Grillo jumps off the screen as the most belligerent of the desperate crew. It's possible for a movie to have an absurd premise yet carve something unexpectedly philosophical out of that: The Incredible Shrinking Man and Rise of the Planet of the Apes come to mind. Add this one to that oddball list. --Robert Horton --This text refers to the Blu-ray edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Yes, it's a survival movie, no, it's not supposed to be a horror or an action flick,
though we are given plenty of action here.
Yes, the plot is predictable, yes the CGI wolves are unconvincing to say the least, though they fare far better than other recent movies which fobbed us off with a far worse version...ahem...I reveal no names!
This movie is saved by the beautiful scenery, and the way in which each shot is designed to take your breath away. It is saved by the psychological game it plays with you. It gets you tense from the beginning, and keeps you that way until the end. It is almost as though you are out in that wilderness along with them, and despite the roughness and crudeness of some of the men - you REALLY want them all to survive.
This movie makes your heart thump in your chest and want to squeeze your eyes shut when Neeson and the gang take a risk. The uncertainty is what makes this movie terrifying, and the vastness and seeming hopelessness of the situation. It is the emotion and the mindsets of the men that drives the story, THAT is what it is about.
Liam Neeson gives a very powerful performance, and so do some of the other characters.
Okay, I was a little disappointed with the ending, and I got a little bored of the flashback scenes, but this is a film that grabbed my attention and held it, and if you go into this with your eyes open,and just let the journey take you, I don't think you'll be disappointed.
1. The sound is awesome. I pick a tiny bone that the wolves were dubbed as tigers (wolf growls not sufficiently frightening?) but the utter isolation and unsurvivable weather came across 100%.
2. The ending - wait until after the credits.
3. Liam's best performance after "Taken". No question. A must for Liam fans.
4. The wolves, whilst ever-present, don't cause all the deaths. Some deaths are due to the plane crash, the weather, the journey, or accident. So not an unrealistic wolf witch-hunt.
5. Yes, anyone connected with wolves knows how fast they can run, and therefore this film would have ended in half the time or less. It's a major flaw.
6. At times you'll find yourself screaming at the screen while the characters yap on wasting time, or make similar unsurvivable mistakes, but that's just the benefit of being at home, safe & healthy & not in shock.
7. There are one or two scenes that will stay with you for a long time. Sometimes for what is NOT shown. Heh heh. And at least one of these is genuinely moving.
8. The plane crash is one of the best I've seen since "Alive".
9. One ponders just how much good we are without guns, in an environment where other animals are adapted and we are not.
10. I would have liked to see it as an 18 cert, and more realistic wolves, but wolves aren't easy to train. They make up their own mind. And that's why this film is less outlandish than you think... wolves are canny, they plan. They track. They don't give up on a fair chance of food. And they're patient. So much respect to the wolves, this hasn't harmed them one bit.
Thank you & goodnight x
However, given the right director, authentic location shooting, powerhouse performances and the IMPLIED threat of a merciless predator, this type of film can work. Thankfully, this is the case with 'The Grey'.
So the plot is really nothing new. An oil drilling team crashes in Alaska and must face a pack of territorial wolves as they struggle to make their way through and survive. So far, so simple. But the director, Joe Carnahan (showing us again the visual gritty panache and character development he revealed with subtlety in 'Narc' and less so in 'The A Team') uses the dire circumstances of his protagonists as a means to explore the emotional, psychological and spiritual consequences of confronting their eventual demise.
Purists and animal lovers will abhor the role of the wolves. They seem DELIBERATELY cruel in their hunt of the survivors of the plane crash. Both sentient and cognitive, they demonstrate a willingness to hunt the humans down one by one as if they have made a plan and are determined to execute it with ruthless efficiency. Even though cases of wolf attacks on humans are quiet rare, the movie suggests that should anyone find themselves in the middle of wolf territory, or indeed a wolf den, then ALL bets are off.
In fending off the wolf attacks, these already rough-hewn oil refinery workers have to revert back to their primitive selves and in so doing reveal their insecurities, their fears and their failures.Read more ›
Once inside – with thunderous metal music and pool cues breaking all around him – his grizzled face doesn’t seem to register interest in any of it. In fact as he downs whiskey shots and stares forward - we see his thoughts that crave peace and contentment - glimpses of his beautiful wife (Anne Openshaw) lying beside him under the sheets – stroking his hair and smiling at him like everything is going to be all right. But in this cold and desolate place that he describes as the "a***hole of the world" – it isn’t gong to be ok. In fact – once outside again – Ottway takes his rifle out - puts the barrel into his mouth and is about to pull the trigger. But then he hears the howl of a wolf in the distance (an Alpha Male) - almost like it’s calling him out. His faces hardens – maybe these roughnecks are in danger and will need him after all…
Liam Neeson is the people’s champ when it comes to leading men – but you also forget just how staggeringly good he really is. He puts in better acting chops in the opening ten minutes of "The Grey" than most actors do in fifty.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An underappreciated tale of survival and loss, overshadowed by simultaneous releases and people's obsession with pointing out that, yes, the wolves were CGI (not always, though). Read morePublished 3 months ago by Koobismo