At: PVR and other cinemas
Directed by: Joe Carnahan
Cast: Liam Neeson, Dermot Mulroney, Frank Grillo and others
Rating: * * *
Joe Carnahan’s The Grey is the kind of movie that makes you wish fervently for never being in such a situation, but at the same time, the grim fight for survival in hostile conditions provides a kind of thrill for the armchair adventurer. It is a formulaic man vs beast tale in many ways, but it still grabs attention.
Ottway (Liam Neeson) works with an oil company in the cold, bleak Alaska, his job is shooting predatory animals. He and a few other workers fly out on leave and their plane crashes in the middle of nowhere. Only seven survive, hope for rescue seem remote, and to make the ordeal worse are the wolves on whose territory they are trespassing, making the beasts mad as hell. Ottway takes charge to help lead the men to safety away from the frightening, hungry eyes of the wolves (computer generated and very scary).
Some of Liam Neeson’s recent films have not exactly covered him with glory, but this one, where he can use his piercing eyes and intense expression to advantage, seems made for him.
The landscape is beautiful but harsh, that kind that has menace in the air. The Grey is a man’s film, it’s various facets of men’s character under extreme duress that are expressed through the film. But it’s not macho—the men may mirror wolf traits when in danger, but they are not impervious to fear and pain. The actors Dermot Mulroney, Frank Gillo, Nonso Anozie, Dallas Roberts and others are a fine bunch, the cinematography and music complement the eerie mood. Not particularly memorable, but worth a look.