The Movie Waffler New Release Review - The Grey | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review - The Grey

Directed by: Joe Carnahan
Starring: Liam Neeson, Dermot Mulroney, Frank Grillo, Dallas Roberts

The plot of this is basically "Alive" with wolves but where the focus of that film was on staying alive this takes a different route. This is a movie about preparing for death.
Considering it happens to every person on earth and will happen to you and I, there are remarkably few films about mortality. Last year's Golden Waffle winner "Melancholia" dealt with coming to terms with the inevitable and this mines similar territory. There's a powerful scene where a character decides to lie down and accept his fate because the Alaskan landscape is filled with the beauty his life has been lacking. The movie's mature view of suicide is refreshing to see and is commendable.
In a parallel to real-life, Neeson's character has recently been widowed. This can't have been an easy role for him or perhaps it was sadly all too easy. Either way he's fantastic here and is totally convincing as someone you'd want on your side in this situation. His character is an Atheist and thankfully the script doesn't give him any cheesy "enlightenment". He's always struggled with accents but here he actually plays an Irishman and his dialogue always sounds just how we Irish speak.
In a reverse of the "Lord Of The Flies" archetype, the characters start out at odds with each other but find their humanity along the way. Every time we think the film is veering towards a sentimental moment reality hits us with a bang. All the usual cliches of this type of tale are consistently subverted. The last mainstream American movie this dark was probably David Fincher's "Seven".
It's good to see the film-makers didn't go down the CG greenscreen route for this, the wolves are a combination of real and animatronic creatures. The location shooting adds a production value that could never be replicated in a warm cosy Los Angeles studio, the cast look absolutely freezing all through this.
That one of the most intelligent mainstream movies in years came from the director of "The A-Team" and "Smokin' Aces" means there's hope for American cinema after all.
The Grey (2011) on IMDb 6.9/10