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The Grey

January 27, 2012

John Ottway: Once more into the fray. Into the last good fight I’ll ever know. Live or die on this day. Live or die on this day. 

There is no better way to end your day than watching Liam Neeson beating the living hell out of a cluster of killer wolves. After 2008’s Taken, Liam Neeson made quite the name for himself as the most ruthless action-man in the business. However, things went erratic when he followed Taken up with the god-awful Unknown, but has liberated himself by going into R-rated territory with his stimulating new film, The Grey. This film is fantastic; it’s emotionally stirring, visually exciting, and features some of the frostiest cinematography in recent memory. The Grey is not a die-hard action film; it plays more of an adventure tale, which turned out to be tremendous.
 

Liam Neeson portrays John Ottway, who works as an oil driller, as well as a wolf killer in Alaska. Struggling with the passing of his wife, Ottway spends nights in a gloomy domicile, sometimes contemplating suicide. When he takes a flight to the west, the plane suddenly crashes into the arctic land, leaving Ottway, along with a number of survivors, to devise a plan to get to safe land. Situations become radical once they discover they are not alone; in fact, there are killer wolves everywhere, and surviving becomes more problematic. Ottway and his crew now need to survive from the cold, let alone the killer wolves after them.

There are several instances in The Grey where I was overjoyed with the attention to detail in the zealous and mind-bogglingly unembroidered cinematography from Masanobu Takayanagi, who recently worked on the recent film Warrior. This makes Warrior look like a wager, because the snowy atmosphere in The Grey is absolutely striking to look at, whether it’s a mountain view, the treetops, or the top of a cliff, there is never an instance that this cinematography does not look absolutely, positively picture-perfect

There is an early scene on in The Grey where Neeson’s character is shown laying down in a bed with his wife. Glaring at her. The theater is silent; the audience cannot hear a peep. Suddenly, though, a big boom comes through the speakers, and the plane goes down. That is the perfect example of how to set a tone because the rest of the film plays out similar to that. The Grey goes from scene-to-scene with an unparalleled amount of confidence, detail, and dexterity throughout. More films should endeavor to be analogous to this.

Joe Carnahan has been known to go for the more silly films, with his previous work including The A-Team and Smokin’ Aces. Here, we see a new side of Mr. Carnahan, as The Grey inserts the audience into a world of downheartedness, apprehension, and a whole lot of drama. This film is about bereavement, regret, and wretchedness, and the journey of this extraordinary group of men was very well organized by Carnahan (especially the cliff scene). Now, onto the acting. You can’t have a perfected action film if Liam Neeson is not on the casting list. Neeson is perfect in his role, and really does own the term “boss” at this point. The rest of the cast are fantastic, consisting of actors not well known, yet emphasize the realism of the film itself. The only complaint I had about The Grey was a few scenes tend to drag on, but the fantastic action sequences and powerful dramatic moments make The Grey quite a superlative thrill-ride. 

The Grey: 4 out of 5

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