Director Joe Carnahan’s The Grey is the first truly bad ass film of 2012. Liam Neeson delivers a performance that should garner him at least an Oscar nomination if not the win. From the first minutes of this film I was reeled in and really didn’t look away the entire time. I didn’t even think to check my watch or about time in anyway, I was hooked by the story and visuals from frame one. The trailers really don’t let on how crazy things are and how high the tension is though out the film. It walks a perfect line between action and drama, great pacing, never boring but still giving you time to rest.
The basic plot follows John Ottway (Neeson), an ex convict to a high risk job up north in Alaska. Upon returning on a commercial air liner, the plane crashes in the middle of a baron snowy landscape, leaving only 7 survivors and very little chance of rescue. Things only get worse when at nightfall the group realize they are being hunted by a pack of giant mountain wolves. Shit goes down hill fast from there and we are along for the whole pulse racing ride. Neeson gives a physical performance worthy of an actor half his age, truly truly awesome.
With the production budget reported at only $25 million, the amount of visual visceral value seen on the screen is phenomenal. The camera work and direction has you right there with the characters, experiencing every second of the bad ass-ery and mayhem. The whole cast really does a superb job playing the nuances of their characters, everyone is bang on and Neeson is working on another level. Where some actors would go to an extreme agitated overboard performance to convey the tension, the 59 year old Irish actor pulls back and delivers something rarely seen in this kind of a film, real world feelings, weight and danger . Lives are on the line and you can feel it though out. Go see this film, you will be very satisfied and will want to go in for a second viewing the second the credits role, at least that’s the way I felt. A close to perfect thriller to start off the year, plainly, a must see.
The only thing I could say that could possibly improve The Grey, in my geeky genre nerd way I kind of wanted to see one of the guys that was mauled by the wolves turn into a werewolf; But at that point it really would have gone a totally different way, it’s more my mind spinning the story towards any fantasy elements, which I love. As it is The Grey really is a must see for all action adrenalin junkies out there and anyone who likes a good man vs. nature story. This is the best one I’ve seen in quite a while, if not the best. Only time and reviewing it a dozen times will tell for me, I can hardly wait to check it out on Blu-ray again and again.
Till next Time. Stay Tuned