REVIEW: The Grey

Following past experiences from previous hits Taken and Unknown, we should have all gathered by now that any action-thriller involving Liam Neeson will be pure popcorn entertainment. Expectations were high for The Grey as it’s perhaps the first blockbuster of 2012 and now after seeing it, it’s important to know that it is not your typical action film that has been shown repeatedly in the past. It is more along the lines of a heart-racing thriller with many unexpected turns just around the corner. So having said this and that the plot is quite basic, it brings out something what you wouldn’t really expect: a horrifying but genuinely heartfelt story that’ll toy with your emotions.

The Grey is honestly a film that can quite easily be misunderstood for a horror film purely for the reasons that it involves wolves attacking and killing a group of men in central wooden territories of Alaska. However, it surprisingly expresses various aspects of life including friendships, the frequent ugly chemistry between man and beast and the teachings about fate and destiny. It also somehow transforms itself into a psychological-thriller as it involves many scenes of emotional damage due to their situation, witnessing the horrifying attacks from the wolves and the stakes due to make in order to survive.

Seriously, who would’ve thought at almost 60 years old that Liam Neeson can still pull off this badass tone that we have seen so greatly from him over the years? Bradley Cooper was the original choice for the role of Ottway, but seeing Neeson in this role proves that Cooper would have been a total miscast. Just like the entire film as a whole, Ottway’s character and Neeson’s performance as said character is something slightly different this time in comparison to other films in the past. We’re used to seeing an explosive and exhilarating Neeson but he is a character that doesn’t deliver so much action, but is full of emotion and bravery and is genuinely the leader of the group. So, these characteristics already make him a very likeable character.

Alongside Neeson is a supporting cast of all-male actors who haven’t made their presence known in the world of Hollywood (apart from James Badge Dale), but here is a group of actors who solidly collaborated together and gave impressive performances. In addition to the actors, we are introduced to the pack of wolves that howl for the blood of these men. Although there were one or two scenes involving real wolves, the use of CGI for these creatures was breath-taking but at the same time, it was pretty typical. These wolves aren’t just blood-lusting, vicious creatures that attack at the most unexpected times but they also provide some character during particularly scenes of confrontation leading to the occasional withdrawn attack and the eerie connection between them and the men.

Joe Carnahan, the director of Smokin’ Aces and The A-Team (which ironically stars Liam Neeson in the leading role) takes charge as director of The Grey and what a great job he does! He manages to create an atmosphere that is intense and nail-biting from start to finish but also with its depressing features. However, the one minor cliché that The Grey suffers from is that it does consist of some overlong scenes. Carnahan co-writes the script with Ian MacKenzie Jeffers whose short story The Grey is based on. They write it together very creatively that jumbles an unorthodox mixture of depression and fright. It’s quite interesting to learn that Ridley Scott was a co-producer of The Grey too.

Overall, The Grey is a dark adventure-drama that takes you along a very emotional but intense ride and teaches us some unexpected lessons about various aspects of life. Surprisingly, it is not the horror film that many have speculated it to be but it’ll still undoubtedly keep you off the edge of your seat from start to finish. 2012 has gone off to a great start and has become the first motion picture of the year that’s pure popcorn entertainment.

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~ by SJMJ91 on 15/05/2012.

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