<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Joe Carnahan. Starring Liam Neeson, Dermot Mulroney, Dallas Roberts.
Expecting this to be a gritty and edge-of-your-seat film about the survivors of a plane crash being attacked by man-eating wolves? Just the bit after ‘survivors’ is true of The Grey.
Apparently some animal rights activists aren’t too happy with this film. They even set out a call to ban it: (Check out their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/BoycottTheGrey).
Wolves attacking people, oh my, what a new and horrible premise for a film to take on. Just imagine, now people are going to kill more wolves. You think they thought of this when werewolf films were being made? Anyway, the digital and mechanised wolves of The Grey look just as artificial as the ones in the unbearable Twilight saga. I think they should ban digital wolves, cause Hollywood can’t seem to get them right!
Ottway (Liam Neeson) is a wolf hunter in Alaska, he kills the beasts in order to protect oil rig workers from being attacked. But he does feel their pain. Flashback to some girl in bed with him and it’s obviously a sad memory. He tries to commit suicide but can’t. The rig workers and Ottway are heading out of the area on a plane but a blizzard brings the winged beast hurtling down ferociously upon the barren tundra (very well shot), where surprisingly about seven of them survive. Ottway, assumes leadership of the pack since they are being ‘hunted’ by a pack of wolves who are killing them for sport. And why not, the humans have been killing them off mercilessly. Nature will fight back.
Liam Neeson as the mysterious, strong and reticent Ottway is perfectly cast. He is a good actor that unfortunately has been utilised in some very tacky roles (Wrath of the Titans, comes to mind). His interplay with this group of volatile, complicated and eccentric men is what keeps you paying attention. The wolves aren’t really scary. It’s the accompanying music and sound editing that give you the occasional shock treatment.
Director Joe Carnahan and some interesting landscapes create a somewhat mesmerising vista of white snow, grey trees, black creatures and shades of grey men with some pretty digital snow thrown in. Visually, it’s beautiful to look at.
But what The Grey misses is originality. One by one the survivors are picked off and torn apart. Their impending deboning set up appropriately so that you know which one is going to be next. How come it’s always just one at a time? How come a murderer, monster or ghoul never hacks two characters off at the same time? I guess the movie would end pretty quickly then.
Predictable and a bit pointless, unless you want to read into the balance of nature message, The Grey is watchable but isn’t anything new really. Which makes me feel a bit grey.