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 Post subject: The Grey
PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 5:25 am 
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The Grey, written and directed by Joe Carnahan, is a movie about a group of men who survive a plane crash in the tundra only to face certain death by a pack of wolves who hunt the lands they crashed in. Lead by slightly suicidal wolf-hunter-extraordinaire, Ottway (Neeson), seven men attempt to survive their perilous situation by searching for a way out of the wolf patrol grounds and into a human civilization.

Due to the nature of this rather one dimensional film, there will be some spoilers to the end. However the trailer of this movie also shows the "spoiler" I'm revealing and so this can be taken with a grain of salt.

First thing's first: if you're looking for realism in a movie about a group of men who survive a plane crash in the tundra...then you're not going to enjoy this movie and you should most certainly not bother continue reading this review.

However, if you could give a damn about realism, this movie does have one key point that is worth mentioning. Namely the protagonist, Ottway. The performance by Neeson in this movie is quite stunning. In a recent interview about the film, Carnahan admitted that he requested for Neeson to speak the several of his lines towards his dead wife so that the emotion that played on the screen would be that much more poignant. The result was extraordinary and the true depths of despair and emotion could be seen in his character's eyes.

Beyond Neeson's performance however there is not much more that is spectacularly noticeable about this film. The music seemed to be a constant repeat of a ten note phrase that was more of a constant arpeggio the entire time. It's repetition echoed the monotonous nature of the constant walking, running from wolves, snowy demise, and eventual death scenes of the various characters in the movie.

The fluctuation of the characters and the arc of their development seemed flat and more outstandingly surprising at times where rash decisions and strange behaviors appeared out of the blue and didn't mesh with what we already knew about the characters themselves. Their sudden changes and adjustments could be chalked up to their experiences, but even that didn't seem to be mesh at times with the actions that were done.

Unfortunately when taking a step back from this movie, one seems to find oneself having difficulty recalling any part of the film that was actually truly memorable and is left with the final images of the last minute of the film.
Spoiler: show
In it, Neeson's character Otway recites a poem he'd introduced earlier on in the film while preparing to fight against the Alpha wolf of the pack that had been hunting them. This last minute of the film where he looks at the wolf, finishes his poem and prepares to attack leaves the viewer with an abrupt ending that is suspenseful and utterly dissatisfying. The end result is easy to determine and the "suspense" of whether he lives or dies is lost by the realism of the fact that even if he does survive, he's going to be slaughtered within moments by the rest of the pack.
The dissatisfaction of this scene only grows when one looks up any information or literature on the movie itself. The poem, called "Into the Fray" is often repeated over and over again.

For those who have finished watching the movie, it is almost as if that's the only remarkable part that comes to mind. A one minute poem and fight sequence accompanied by vivid recollection of how
Spoiler: show
everybody dies in the end.

Quite frankly, this movie's true mastery lies in the scenery that was shot on sight, as well as the acting done by Liam Neeson. The only other extraordinary part about this was that Carnahan is the first director I've seen who actually used all wolves instead of coyotes in the filming of a wolf movie. It was quite nice to see - to be honest.

I give this movie a solid C+ for its efforts, loosing major points for poor character development, lack of realism, and time spent on what seemed to be a repetitious cycle. What saves it is the acting of Neeson and Frank Grillo as the character Diaz. Their interchanges together was the only true acting in the movie I found to be particularly enjoyable.

Personally, I wouldn't go out of my way to watch this movie again, and even if it was on I would change the channel. It just didn't catch my attention, and despite the constant sudden effects...it was only thrilling for about 20% of the film, and it could have been much better.



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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 6:38 am 

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I agree. It was carried solely by shock factor and impending doom - both are readily found (in abundance) on the shelves of every video store in America. Poor character development. I found my morality backing the brutish wolf in the end. Such a downer role for Liam.


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