I like Liam Neeson (Unknown) a lot. He was under my radar for a while, and the only thing I remembered him for was Schindler’s List, which is old as hell. Recently he’s been featured in roles that show him as heroic and resourceful, and I think he displays an understated strength on screen. It’s actually quite attractive. Ever since Taken he has proven capable of taking roles that challenge his character and test his resilience. And he’s pretty hot for an old(er) guy.
The Grey is the story of a group of oil drillers who survive an airplane crash, leaving them stranded in the Alaskan wilderness. Neeson is featured as Ottway, a solitary man whose job it is to protect the drillers from wolves while they work. The drillers have a thankless job, working in bone-chilling whether, completely isolated from everyone but each other. Ottway is very lonely, and we learn through dreamy flashbacks that he has lost a woman he loved. His cold environment does nothing to warm his heart, and he even contemplates suicide. Well, obviously we know he’s not going to pull the trigger or else The Grey would have only lasted about 30 minutes. I thought his aborted suicide attempt was perhaps a bit of foreshadowing, since I knew from the trailer that their plane was going to crash. Maybe Ottway is resilient, and this fortitude will serve him well later. When their plane goes down, he quickly emerges as natural leader of the small band of survivors.
The majority of the movie shows Ottway and six other survivors as they traverse the bleak landscape, trying desperately to evade a large pack of predatory wolves. The wolves quickly claimed their first victim shortly after the plane went down, and Ottway determines that they cannot remain near the wreckage. Thus begins their arduous journey over the frozen tundra. Not only must they navigate the frigid terrain, they must harness their competing egos and stick together if they hope to survive.
Neeson gave a good performance, and he was believable as the resourceful hero. Unfortunately, I don’t have anything else good to say about this movie. I thought it would be an action-packed tale of survival and triumph, as the men (or most of them) emerged victorious after learning to appreciate their lives and finding true purpose. Instead, The Grey was a bleak, meandering tale riddled with implausible scenarios and befuddling behavior. There’s one scene that is just fu**ing impossible. I won’t spoil it for you – not that you’d care. There is nothing triumphant about this movie. I’ve been told that if you stick around for the credits (I did not), you’ll have an extra scene. Yeah, let’s save cool features like that for good movies, not tripe like this. I heard about the scene, and even if I would’ve stuck around for it I don’t think my opinion would be any different. This one would be a waste of money folks. Good thing I snuck in.