Movie Review: The Grey

So I saw this movie today, primarily to fill a 4-hour gap between work and bowling, but I also wanted to see on it’s own merits. And I can say with no uncertainty that I was not disappointed.

The Grey is about Liam Neeson’s character, who is a depressed Irish dude working as a wolf hunter at an Alaskan oil thing. Honestly, aside from the part where he knows wolves and is no longer with the love of his life, the beginning isn’t particularly important. Then he and a bunch of other guys who work at the place are on a plane, probably flying back to the Continental US, and it crashes. You already knew about that part because it’s in all the trailers, and in all the pictures Liam Neeson is covered in snow. What follows is a harrowing tale of survival for the several men who survived the crash.

Maybe it was just because I was sitting near the front and therefore the movie screen filled almost the entirety of my field of vision, but I found the movie exceedingly gripping. It’s not truly an action film (I don’t care what IMDB says), though there is plenty of action. Survival horror comes much closer to describing it, but that’s a video game genre and not a movie genre, and horror demands a certain threshold of surrealism that this movie’s antagonists (snow and wolves) fails to provide. On the topic of realism, I found The Grey to be a particularly realistic film, if not in the events themselves, than certainly in the characters’ reactions to them. Men cry, freak out, put up tough fronts, and plenty of other things that happen to men when pushed to their limit. Naturally, the hero and grimly determined but still compassionate hero is Liam’s character, with the other men showing varying levels of humanity.

While surviving against all odds and clinging to hope and faith are important themes in this movie, I would say that more important still is the inevitability of death, despair, and how old faces their doom. “Once more into the fray. Into the last good fight I’ll ever know. Live and die on this day. Live and die on this day.” This is a poem that appears in the movie, encapsulating the essence of the film. When death comes for you, will you lie down and wait for him, or will you grab whatever weapon you can find and run snarling into battle?

This is a grim and bleak film, filled with violence and death, both of humans and animals. You will see gore. It’s seemingly a manly movie, but I think any woman who appreciated Hurt Locker would like this one as well. If you have a taste for dark films with a bit of bleak humor, you should definitely see this movie.

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