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Review: The Grey

January 29, 2012

The Grey

  • Starring: Liam Neeson (Taken), Dermot Mulroney, (Zodiac), Frank Grillo (Warrior)
  • Directed by: Joe Carnahan
  • Synopsis: “A group of oil-rig roughnecks are left stranded on the sub-arctic tundra after their plane experiences a complete mechanical failure and crashes into the remote Alaskan wilderness. The survivors, battling mortal injuries, biting cold and ravenous hunger, are relentlessly hunted and pursued by a vicious pack of rogue wolves.” (collider)
  • Rated: R for strong language, strong violence (bloody images and disturbing content).
  • Trailer:

“From Qui-Gon Jinn (Star Wars) to Ra’s Al Ghul (Batman Begins) to Brian Mills (Taken) to Zeus (Wrath of the Titans) to Ottway (The Grey), Liam Neeson is a BAD man! 

After surviving a horrendous plane crash, Neeson and 6 others in this chilly thriller must work together and persevere in the harshest of conditions in order to stay alive. Aside from the elements, hunger, disorientation, and paranoia, the men must also contend with a pack of ravenous wolves that are intent on taking them down one by one.

The Grey is full of suspense, thrill, excitement, and fear. It has several of the -what I call- “Shock and Scare” moments! (I could not help but laugh quietly to myself every time the 3 women sitting next to me in the theaters would jump and let out a slight shriek whenever they got scared!) Without a doubt, The Grey brings with it several levels of excitement and adventure. Liam Neeson portrays the gritty outdoorsman with a good sense for survival quite well. A gritty exterior but yet allows us to see the man underneath from time to time which allows for better relation to his character.

His character, however, remained the only character that really was of any meaning. Immediately after the first wolf claims his first victim it is understood exactly what the rest of the characters are there for. With some mediocre attempts to create quick meaning to each of the characters before their “exit,” The Grey lacks in keeping you interested in any of the other men short of Neeson. So, when it is time for the next victim it is more of a guessing game as to who it will be and who will survive.

…and that’s okay, I suppose.

Plenty of suspense with the wolves and the harsh environment makes up for that.

However, it is the built up anticipation of the wolves that left me with probably the biggest disappointment of all. This film promised so much more in teases with the trailer, the poster, the promo material, etc…and does not keep up its end of the bargain. I could deal with the lack of character development. I could deal with the stereotypical self-sacrificing suicides and expected exits of characters that we see in survival movies (Vertical Limit, Day After Tomorrow, etc). I could even deal with the disbelief that none of these men except Neeson ever watch episodes of ‘Man vs. Wild’! But what disappointed me most is what I went to see the movie for most of all never happened!

For fear of that being too close to a spoiler I will just end this review now with this final word:

The Grey– not bad. Not great. Great cinematic work and fantastic suspense accompanies this chilly adventure that packs a ton of grit and fear. It promised to be full of so much more, but in the end, left me feeling quite gray.

Thanks for reading! Happy Watching!

Score:  3 out of 5 stars for The Grey

T, The Focused Filmographer

up next: “Movie News Monday!”

25 Comments leave one →
  1. January 29, 2012 10:14 am

    We ended up i the same place with this one. I gave it 3.75 and you gave it a 3 out of five. Love that line you wrote about understanding the reason for the other survivors being there.



    • January 30, 2012 7:03 pm

      Hi Mike! thanks for visiting and commenting today. I will be by to check out your review here soon. Thanks for your kind words!


  2. January 29, 2012 4:23 pm

    What? Not enough wolves? What’s a movie called “The Grey” without a raging wolfpack eating stupid humans ahah 😉


    • January 30, 2012 7:06 pm

      haha, well, at least the wolves didn’t starve. heehee


  3. January 29, 2012 11:34 pm

    Dang, two positive scores in January, i’m overwhelmed 😉

    I can’t wait for your Descendants review my friend!


    • January 30, 2012 7:07 pm

      I know, right? 2?! This one barely makes it for me though. JUST over the halfway mark.

      The Descendants review should be published here shortly! Thanks. How was your weekend?


  4. January 30, 2012 5:11 am

    3/5 sounds OK to me!!

    I might have to give this a go later in the week.

    Thanks for the write up my friend


    • January 30, 2012 7:09 pm

      thanks for reading, Scott. Did you see anything good this past weekend?


  5. January 30, 2012 7:23 am

    Awww. Disappointed you didn’t like it more. Thought that it was a really really great movie. I’ll forgive the lack of action for the fact that they focus on the deeper conversations that people would have when facing death.

    I’m with you with “the cut away”, but I can support it artistically. You know all that you need to know, you know that he’s going to fight.

    Thought it was great, but I can see the points you make.


    • January 30, 2012 7:10 pm

      Fogs! haha, well, it appears this is the “MONTH” that we don’t see too much eye to eye. lol.

      I need to see your review. I will be over soon to check it out. Hope you’re doing great. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment!


  6. January 30, 2012 9:57 am

    Does he fight wolves? That’s all I need to know to see this movie eventually. I heard the movie was extremely short though. Something like 70 something minutes? I’ll probably catch this on streaming eventually. Thanks, T.


    • January 30, 2012 7:12 pm

      to answer your question…in a manner of speaking.

      I won’t spoil it, but catching it on streaming is probably a better idea.


  7. January 30, 2012 12:13 pm

    Fantastic review, T! I’m gonna link this from my post today to counter Fogs’ review, ahah. We need to get a balanced view from all sides, right? 😀

    “I could even deal with the disbelief that none of these men except Neeson ever watch episodes of ‘Man vs. Wild’!” LOVE it, so snarky yet so spot on. This movie isn’t something I’ll watch on the big screen, I mean it looks cold and snowy just like in my neck of the woods, PLUS there are flesh eating wolves, so not exactly what I’d call entertainment, ha..ha..


    • January 30, 2012 7:14 pm

      thanks Ruth. A great honor to be featured, and with Fogs’ no less! Can’t wait to check out the feature.


  8. January 31, 2012 8:49 am

    I couldn’t wait to see what u thought. And it seems that we are in line on this one my friend. Great review as always.


    • January 31, 2012 10:10 am

      thank you for reading and for your kind compliment. I was disappointed.

      Oh! and Red Tails did NOT have the music, but I have a friend that went to see it and for them there was music. SMH (?)


      • January 31, 2012 3:00 pm

        I knew it! The movie just felt empty at the beginning, and I kept scratching my head wondering wth was missing, then it hit me…lol. Crazy how ur friend seemed to have been able to create her own musical soundtrack in her head…lol

        Ur headed to NY next wk right? Or am I late?


      • January 31, 2012 9:28 pm

        haha. yeah, not certain yet about the veracity of the rumored music! haha.

        I will be on vacay starting this wknd. u remembered correctly.


  9. January 31, 2012 4:10 pm

    This is one of my potential choices for tomorrow night’s cinema trip! I’m not expecting great things from it though I think it will be one of those films that needs to be seen on the big screen. I’ll let you know if I see it 🙂

    Great write up, T!


    • January 31, 2012 9:30 pm

      Thank you for reading and commenting.

      ooh, I will be most interested in your thoughts if you do choose this one. Please be sure to send me a link for your review if you do!


  10. February 1, 2012 8:09 pm

    I’m torn on whether or not to see this one- I could really use some Neeson-on-wolf action, but from what you’re saying if I go into this one expecting that I’ll be sorely disappointed.

    Maybe I’ll just catch it at the two dollar second-run theater.


    • February 2, 2012 10:40 am

      The 2-dollar theater is perhaps the best option for you then. If that is what u r looking for.


  11. February 2, 2012 4:56 am

    With all the positive to good reviews I’ve been reading I think I need to give this film a go. Sounds like decent cinema fodder for this time of year.

    I can’t say no to Neeson taking on some wolves. With a bunch of broken mini alcohol bottles.


    • February 2, 2012 10:43 am

      But last I checked…mini bottles were plastic…not glass. Ha! I’ll b interested in your thoughts.



  1. TheFocusedFilmographer’s Best & Worst Movie Picks of 2012 « The Focused Filmographer

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