Theatrical Release: January 27, 2012
Review by Sommer Thornton
Liam Neeson (Taken) comes out the gate in 2012 in director Joe Carnahan’s new survival drama, “The Grey.” Liam Neeson stars as John, a brawny member of an Alaskaoil drilling team, who is so plagued by his wife’s death he’s near suicide. But John and his crew soon meet immeasurable disaster when their plane crashes in the arctic. The survivors soon learn that in no man’s land, they are governed only by the laws of the wild, and John emerges as the “alpha”. The men must seek shelter, hunt, and evade multiple packs of wolves, whose territory they’ve invaded.
It wasn’t just the dense Alaskan landscape, but the compelling point of view shots of the plane crash and of the survivors in their most perilous moments that puts the viewer in the axis of terror. For some reason, John is never a pretentious hero. Yet he risks his life to save as many of his comrades as he can- probably because he understood that in the wild, there is survival in numbers. As the numbers of his crew dwindle John goes from survival to hero, to cursing God- and begging to be saved.
Liam Neeson is the usual valiant character with a heart, as he was in many of his earlier films. What makes this film worth seeing isn’t the “happy ending”. It’s truly the work of the editor, sound designer, and the cinematographer that make this movie great. At every moment the reverberating growl of the menacing wolves atop the sound of John and the men’s feet crunching backward in the snow mixed with the crackle of the fire immerses the viewer in the wild arctic tundra. I say, go see this movie and think happy thoughts after.