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Movie Review: The Grey

 
Prinz Lee image

Prinz Lee wrote this review 4 years and 10 months ago

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I’m fully aware the year just started, but I don’t care…I’m going to say it anyway! After screening it twice, “The Grey” is clearly the best thriller so far this year. I don’t think I have enough words to describe how much I love and respect this film. Shot in harsh terrain in 40 days without all the fancy Hollywood common hoopla, displays the amount of professionalism from cast, crew, and everyone else in-between!

I’m sure for most who have come across this film via TV spot or poster or on-line promo…the common thought is “Oh, here’s another one of those plane crash survival films like “Alive,” with a twist resembling “The Thing.”” Perhaps there might be some mirroring toward those films, but the difference with the “The Grey” is a much more intelligent script presented by Co-Writer, Director Joe Carnahan, while blessing the darkened, grungy, frostbitten substance with the rugged Liam Neeson.

“The Grey” is a an easy story to follow in which an Alaskan oil drilling team find themselves experiencing pretty much everyone’s worst nightmare in not only a plane crash, but one of few alive to discover themselves in a white abyss-like world of knee-deep, snowy terrain which happens to be inhabited by territorial, hungry wolves.

My friends, that’s basically all one needs to know, however, the brilliance in this film comes when following the ball-busting, somewhat insecure, testicular fortitude group of “tough guys,” being led by a troubled man (Neeson) who forcefully finds himself as not only a leader sharing smarts from his past (including one pertaining to his wife), but also a savior while maintaining sanity when confronting both life and death.

This is more than just a film about a bunch of guys stranded in the woods. Each character has their little moment to develop, and erupts with their own personal reaction – some more accepting and docile than others – but within the core of every character, there’s flesh which keeps their desire to survive warm and heart pumping.

The film may come off a little too long as there are moments which I felt could have been edited, however, in hindsight…considering a situation where mankind finds themselves going against nature…it isn’t easy to come up with decisions when no matter where you look seems like “Destination No Where” and that’s where one’s mind starts to twitch. And Carnahan catches those moments sporadically – with results – when although everyone finds themselves wanting to keep going, forces even the toughest of guys cannot control leads to thoughts of perhaps just giving up! Psychological battles of life vs. death. No matter what the outcome, it’s a choice with harsh results, as it the affect would run all the way back to what’s obvious…those waiting for them on the other side.  

In many ways, although Neeson carries the film – and does a flawless job doing it – those who surround him, also serve as strings of survival consciousness. This, too, is artistically caught in scenes where simply based on gesture, he’s curious to know about who he’s with, what reasons they seek to survive, and last but not least, a form of sanity to keep himself busy with company, support, will and power. (This is where the film’s mini subplot hits as cutbacks between his current life and a harsh past between his wife and childhood is exposed.) Playing over and over within Neeson’s character, there’s a morph beyond what I think anyone expects which leaves the film to be interpreted in any way, shape or form the audience sees fit.

From start to finish, scenery which happens to be completely breathtaking, also displays how hard it must have been when shooting this film, as there wasn’t any studio back-lot involved on any exterior scenes. It was a brutal all-for-one approach when shooting “The Grey,” which I believe serves as redemption for Carnahan’s “The A – Team.”

Overall, “The Grey” isn’t just a film with cutting-to-the-chase dialog, cool cinematography and respectable, emotional, intelligence…leading to questioning life, faith, will etc., but also a badass film with so much dick-swinging, attitude, I think it’s impossible to leave the theater “NOT liking” it. “The Grey” is definitely a film that’ll engrave itself in your mind, body and soul for days, because what makes this film stand out is the fact that harsh situations presented in this film CAN happen in real life!

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