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  • Writer's pictureSteve

The Grey (2012)

Unlike the Shangri-Las, I didn't fall for the leader of the pack. Dress it up any way you like, even sprinkle it with snowdrops, this still isn't much more than a run of the mill disaster survival movie. Neeson may still be de rigeur at the moment, but whilst he had a good stab at it, even this sixty year young action hero cannot breathe life into the dying. All of the plot devices are present, a hero, a terrible accident, a slow but inevitable reduction of cast members and a formidable enemy that makes things go from bad to worse. Let's not pretend we haven't seen all of this before.

The wolves are a new twist, however. Mucking about in the snow is all well and good, but you shouldn't put your middle finger up to Mother Nature, because she is bigger and meaner than you with decidedly more vitriol. She also can make howling winds stop with a click of her fingers especially when speeches are required or quiet contemplation by the side of another dead body.

Ottway (Neeson) works with a group of drillers in frozen Alaska. He's not a driller himself though. He is a sniper and hunter, shooting the opportunistic attacking wolves if they venture to close to his charges. In the cold, dark freezing night, he fantasises silently that his wife still loves him and she didn't actually leave him. He has had enough of life, as he feels he has no more to offer it and writes his true love a goodbye note, intending to blow his own head off in the snow with same gun kept his colleagues safe. If he had, he would have missed his flight.

He doesn't of course. That would have made for one short movie. He gets on the plane that is the portent of the rest of the evening's entertainment. When it crashes (who would have guessed, even without seeing the trailer?) then it is down to Ottway to try and lead the survivors to safety. Good job he's a wolf expert, eh?

Well, in a classic Dr Pepper moment, what's the worst that could happen? The group make a break for safety heading for some woodland that was apparently initially invisible in the earlier scenes. As they travel and survive as best they can, they are beset on all sides and at all times by the wolves that see them as a threat in their own environment.

The character development that was almost acceptable at the beginning of the film is practically non-existent by the time the plane crash lands and completely irrelevant by the time they hit the trees. The audience is given no reason to care for the characters as they, to a man, exhibit few redeeming qualities. So what if they get their throats ripped out by a pack of angry wolves. Who's really going to miss them?

The script is trite, cliched and predictable with only Neeson getting lines that have the opportunity to resonate, and these are few and far between. The plot is simple and serves only to provide the opportunity for the visceral and ultra-violent attacks on different members of the remaining survivors.

In all, a soulless mess of a film that never tries to be honest with its audience and suffers greatly for it. In the many quiet moments where the script could have been its saviour, Director Joe Carnahan opts for idle small talk and irrelevant chit chat which comes across as wasteful and unrealistic given the very real peril the men find themselves in. Disappointing.


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