There are two things in The Grey that I've never been a fan of. The first one is winter weather. Digging the car out of the snow, wearing a coat or having the cold hit you in the face have always been things that haven't been cool with. The second one is my dislike for flying. I'll fly when I have to, but it's something that I'll continue to avoid when I can. The Grey manages to use both of those things to build the story that it uses.
When their plane crashes, a group of men who work at an oil rig must fight against multiple opponents. One being mother nature and the other being a pack of wolves. Led by Ottway (Liam Neeson) the men must move fast, battle through the elements, and brave through the wild before time runs out for them.
Liam Neeson's character Ottway was basically a wilderness version of McGuyver. He was able to improvise and create something out of nothing when it mattered. His techniques were used to help them survive in the cold, but to also potentially kill if warranted. All of that stuff came in handy for him and it was one of the bright spots of The Grey. With all of his skills pertaining to improvising and surviving, there were sure to still be some casualties with this being a survival movie and all.
Obviously with a movie like this, you can expect to have at least some of these dudes getting knocked off. The problem wasn't the fact that guys were dying and it didn't come from how they died in most cases. Predicting who died and when they were about to die was extremely easy. Literally telling the audience when each person was on his way out would have had the same exact effect as actually watching the movie. Out of the entire film, there was maybe only one guy that died when you didn't completely expect it. That being said, he was also the guy that you knew had no chance of making it simply because they gave it away far too early.
As predictable as the deaths were, there was also another thing I took issue with involving these scenes. They tried way too hard to draw out emotion during the deaths of most of the characters that passed away. With the exception of one, none of these worked one bit. It really did nothing for me and that stuff could have been excluded all together. It was clear that The Grey wanted to be an emotional film, but almost all of that stuff was excessive and worthless.
Speaking of worthless, the ending of the film left a lot to be desired. When I first saw the ending I was completely dissatisfied and shocked with how stupid it was. After giving it some thought, I realized that I may have been over (or under) thinking the film's conclusion. Even though I rethought my stance on the ending, I was still disappointed with it for the simple fact that my second interpretation would have made the film completely meaningless. The conclusion of The Grey was being built up properly and all of a sudden it produces nothing but a massive let down. This was one of the worst endings that I've ever seen. There were two ways to interpret the finale of The Grey, but either way it fails miserably since both interpretations would result in endings that are equally terrible.
I could talk about the wolves taking their own sweet time killing these guys for no other reason than to make the movie longer, I could talk about the mysterious woman that we see in the trailer or I could talk about the foolish decisions that these guys make throughout the movie, but I won't. I'll just point out how disappointed I am overall. I thought I was going to see a macho movie with a lot of action that had guys trying to do all they can to survive whatever came their way. What I got was a macho movie that tried to be artsy and had way too much crying in it. Needless to say, The Grey is a movie that I don't ever plan on watching again.
Director: Joe Carnahan
Film Length: 117 minutes
Release Date: January 27, 2012
Distributor: Open Road Films