Friday, January 27, 2012


The Grey

The Grey Could it be worse than you are thrown out of a crashed airplane into the wilderness on top of a snow covered mountain? Sure. That is just the beginning of a disastrous ordeal in director Joe Carnahan's terrifying thriller "The Grey" (USA 2012 | 117 min.). It is an exhausting experience to witness the prolonged struggle of those plane crash survivors who constantly encounter unpredictable danger.

John Ottway (Liam Neeson), a guard (from wolves) in an oil refinery in Alaska, is on the blink of committing suicide, because he is devastated by the recent separation from his wife. When his plane crashes, despite his injury that is hardly shown later in the film, he becomes the instant leader of the few survivors. Without food and water, he not only needs to lead the team out of the area that has nothing but blizzard and snow, he also must fight back against an army of hungry wolves.

Even after one after another perishes, John is not discouraged and is determined to go on with his incredible journey to stay alive.

Liam Neeson THE GREY. Photo by Kimberley French.

It is true that when you cannot see predators, you are more frightened by them. The film brilliantly uses that psyche and rarely shows any wolf, but the gruesome aftermath is often on full display. Even the harsh freezing environment becomes less fearful compared to constant roars from wolves in the dark. The effect is absolutely chilling.

Yet, John is miraculously focused and fights back with both his knowledge and bravery. He does not show any sign of despair. That makes you wonder whether this is the same John who is about to kill himself at the beginning of the film. Whatever bestirs him, pharmaceutical companies should conduct research about it and make it into pills for depression. It obviously works its magic in the film, although we are not told what it is.

Despite a few unconvincing moments, the film is a scary ride into the freezing emptiness where is actually a wolf kingdom. You will want to get out of it as soon as the credit starts to roll.

"The Grey," an Open Road Films release, opens on Friday, January 27, 2012 at Bay Area theaters.

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