It feels odd to mention a film about wolves and not have teenagers screaming “Go Team Jacob” in the background.
The new adult thriller The Grey has an abundance of wolves, a survivor premise, and enough edge-of-your-seat moments to make it a decent viewing. But only barely. Many of the intended life examining moments get lost in a conglomerate of strong language and unoriginal scenarios.
When a small plane full of Alaskan oil drillers crashes in a remote, frozen area the men who survived the crash now have to try and endure the elements, starvation, and each other. Not to mention the pack of arctic wolves who seem to want to pick them off one by one. Ottway (Liam Neeson) is a tracker who seems to know the most about the wolves’ habits. It is up to him to lead this handful of ragged and tired men to safety. Along the way the men must face their own demons and try to come to terms with life and pending death.
This is an extremely intense film that will keep you anxious from beginning to end. You can almost feel the frigid temperature and the sense of fear as the glowing eyes of the wolves stare through the darkness. If you want a strictly male driven, testosterone fueled action film then this will fill the bill. You will find plenty of peril and survival mode moments for sure. The wolves, though unrealistic in their actions, are menacing and a worthy adversary in a kill or be killed situation. There is no doubt that few will survive this journey and the unease lies in who will go next and how.
If you are looking for something with a depth of emotion or you want a sincere look into the human psyche you will go away disappointed. Sure the men all come to terms with the choices they have made and begin to realize what is important in life; but that can be found in any film of this nature. The conversions are at times too heavily scripted and predictable. The men go from cursing and fighting to hugging trees and kissing sunsets. But it wasn’t as soul-stirring as the film makers were probably going for and it gets lost in the surroundings.
The Grey is rated R for violence/disturbing content including bloody images, and for pervasive language. Again it is an adult drama. The language is extremely crude and the expletives are back to back. This is one of the main reasons that anyone looking for a redemptive story will be closed off early. If you want to reach a certain demographic, you have to take into consideration their likes and dislikes. Joe Carnahan’s (writer/director) initial goal to reach a faith-based audience will miss the mark by a long shot due to his decision to add the dialogue that he does. That said, if you simply want a survival film with intense action and ferocious animals then super. If that had been Carnahan’s only objective he would have hit a home run. I give it 3 out of 5 frost bit fangs. There was nothing unique or inspiring about this one and I’m not sure how much it offers for the money they want at the box office. But If you do go be sure and sit through the credits. There is a little nugget at the end.
Review copyright 2012 Mungleshow Productions. Used by Permission.