Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Grey

Directed by Joe Carnahan.

2011. Rated R, 117 minutes.

Dallas Roberts
Joe Anderson
James Badge Dale
Bren Bray
Anne Openshaw

Liam Neeson, I mean, Ottway and a bunch of other tough guys who work at an Alaskan outpost all board a plane heading south to Anchorage. Since it looks like it’s more fit for dusting crops in Alabama than carrying commuters through severe arctic weather, the plane shakes, rattles, rolls, and eventually crashes in the middle of an extremely cold nowhere. The survivors, Neeson included (screw it), in case you were somehow wondering, try to stay alive long enough to be rescued. Realizing the prospects of that are dim, our ragtag bunch starts walking in hopes of reaching some form of civilization. In addition to the cold, shortage of food and water, there is one other wee little problem: a pack of unbelievably large and hungry wolves is hunting them down and picking them off…dun dun dun…one by one.

I’ve told you everything you need to know. This is both the best and worst part of The Grey. It’s the best because you will get what you came for if you saw that the trailer and thought “cool!” On the other hand, despite all the dime store philosophizing done by the characters, this is a highly repetitive experience. The guys bicker about what course of action to take before settling on whatever Liam Neeson says. When they get to a stopping point they exchange stories that ineffectively try to get us to care about the various cardboard cutouts with which we are spending time. This is interspersed with Neeson’s atmospheric flashbacks and him telling us how smart the wolves are. Indeed, they seem to have studied “The Art of War”. Shortly thereafter, someone gets eaten. Rinse, repeat.

Predictability aside, The Grey can be fun to watch in a morbid way. The excitement lies purely in guessing who’s next to die and seeing how they perish. Even this wears thin after a while. Tone may be to blame, here. It strikes a pretty joyless one, having no sense of humor whatsoever. It behaves as if it’s not only made us care about a roster full of bland archetypes but made some great revelation about the spirit of man when it has done neither. Instead of being the dissertation on man’s resourcefulness in the face of extreme adversity it wants to be, it’s an overly serious slasher flick with gigantic Twilight-esque wolves collectively playing the Jason role and Neeson that of the final girl.

MY SCORE: 5.5/10

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