There are shark movies and there are shark movies. And there are wolf pack movies. They are kind of the same movie. But one happens in water and one happens in frozen water.
The Grey is about Alaska, wolves and the dark edges of human nature. I’m sure you thought The Grey was referring to a giant submarine-sized oceanic whitetip shark. The result of some genetic experiments gone right.
Nope, The Grey refers to Liam Neeson. The doddering old hunter. No longer with any purpose for this world. Not quite ready to go out with a simper. He was too much of a wimp for that.
During Liam’s crisis of place as an aging member of our society, we are treated to a plane crash (thankfully short in duration by movie standards), some bickering, and some running.
From wolves. From their inner demons. From a snow storm. From an angry bumble. Only they know for sure.
The wolves were reminiscent of the wolf scene in the movie 300. Or a pack of wild dogs in a dingy, snow-strewn alley in Sin City.
Similar, yes. But with less artistry and much less realism.
A plane goes down in Alaska. Where else? (It could have been the ocean, but this isn’t that kind of shark movie).
A bunch of doods get cold, hungry, testy and angry with each other. Of course.
They eat each other!
Nope, not this time. That might have been fun.
This time they are being hunted by some giant dire wolves. Our rag-tag group of survivors is in Their territory. You know how giant dire wolves get about that sort of thing. They will hunt you down. One by one. With a glint in their eye.
This time it’s personal.
We get the awful struggle against the weather (according to IMDB, the result of actual storms during filming). We get the men struggling amongst themselves and within themselves.
They are feeling deep feelings. They are in despair. They are being hunted by dire wolves. They miss their mums.
Do you feel the starkness? Does the depth of humanity touch you like an icicle in the rectum? Do you think it was all a dream caused by the frozen snuggle-hug of that whore hypothermia?
At any point, are you moved to give a fuck? No.
Do you think Liam Neeson has been taken over by a pod person? Yes.
How else to describe his descent into Steven Segal-level acting madness.
The best part about the movie is the ridonculous ending. Mostly because it is so contrived and ridiculous. The unlikely collision of a bunch of events out of a parallel universe. A universe where things are slightly different.
First we have the circular clearing of packed snow. Thickly soaked in blood and viscera; and strewn with grisly, mostly-consumed carcasses. A dire wolf red carpet club! These Alaskan accommodations aren’t half bad after all.
Then we have the teeny, tiny bottles. Made of glass. That were on the airplane.
And. And. And. No and then.
We shouldn’t get hung up on the weirdly absurd quirks in the movie (if only to save me from typing it all out), the stock character development and the stunningly stupid animal stalking. However, if we don’t, then we would be bored to death.
Perhaps a preferable ending to having to sit alert all the way through to the final credits.
If I want to watch sweeping tundras and wolf packs in action, there are much better options on TV. Much better.
As for Liam, I’m sure Battleship will bring it all back ’round again.
- Blu-ray Review: “The Grey” (popdose.com)
- The Grey (2012) (myfilmviews.com)
- The Fashionably Late Review: The Grey (thebrowntweedsociety.com)
- Review: ‘The Grey’ is a spellbinding tale (ibnlive.in.com)