The Grey review by Alyse Garner - Cinema Paradiso
After their plane crashes on the way to an oil rig in Alaska a group of men - Liam Neeson, Dermot Mulroney and Frank Grillo - find themselves struggling to survive in the freezing wilderness, their personal fears and anxieties heightened by the trauma of their experience stranded in the isolated frozen wild, it’s not long before they discover they are not alone.
In a lot of ways the Grey had some real potential; the dangers posed not just by the pack of wolves but also by the awe inspiring and awful natural environment touches something deeply primitive inside, without you even fully realising it. Before you know it your imagination has turned these wolves – which are most unlike real wolves to begin with – into rabid, slavering and terrifyingly intelligent hunters with a personal grudge and every whip of wind and flurry of snow into an on coming storm.
Unfortunately, the movie also strives for an introspective and emotional depth beyond the man vs. nature/man vs. animal typical thriller scenario; Neeson’s character Ottoway finds himself looking back at his life and his lost love; thinking of what could have been between them, speaking with her, asking her for guidance and advice and her responding in a gentle heartfelt manner. It is this however that spoils the movie.
These scenes seem to have been slotted in some of the most inappropriate places, perhaps they are there to break the tension but instead they seem cliché and insipid, simply alienating the audience rather than building any kind of emotional bridge between viewer and character, ultimately preventing the film from becoming anything other than a hybrid of the action genre; a place where natural extremes, testosterone fuelled behaviour and emotionless text co-exist for the sake of box office takings.