Liam Neeson struggles for survival in “The Grey”

Liam Neeson struggles for survival in “The Grey”

Jonathan Rainey, Staff Writer

“The Grey” the film stars Liam Neeson, Durmot Mulrony and Frank Grillo as hardy Alaskan oil pipeline workers who struggle with difficult questions about their lives while trying to survive the aftermath of a plane crash.

Liam Neeson plays Ottway, a professional gunman hired to kill wolves in order to keep them away from the workers on the Alaskan pipeline.  On a flight back to Anchorage, the plane goes down in a storm, leaving the few survivors in the middle of arctic tundra with no hope of rescue.  As such, the only way to escape certain death is by trekking out of the desolate wilderness.

And if the sub-zero temperatures and the other deadly environmental hazards were not enough, the ravenous wolves are constantly on the hunt, searching for their next meal.  The film follows the dwindling survivors as they attempt their escape from this unforgiving wasteland and, of course, the jaws of the wolves.

One of the things that struck me most about this movie was how different it turned out to be from how the trailer makes it appear.  The trailer led me to believe that the film is an action-packed thrill ride primarily concerned with Liam Neeson punching wolves in the face.

Admittedly, that sounded like a great movie.  Instead, what it turned out to be was a deliberate, foreboding story interjected with intense action sequences.  More than anything else, the horror genre of film came to mind.

Throughout the men’s journey to escape the elements and the wolves, the men begin to question what and if there is a point to go on with their attempt at living.

As they see the tragic death that their friends have experienced, each survivor draws a different conclusion about why they wound up in the situation that they now find themselves.

For me, this is the crux of the film.  Each man struggling for survival must ask himself why he is still alive while the others did not make it.  The answer that each chooses to believe over the course of the film The responses span the spectrum of possibilities, from nihilism to belief in a purpose and reason which leaves the viewer to choose which survivor they most closely identify with.

Overall, “The Grey” left me with mixed feelings.  Everything about the film was well done.  It had a strong plot leading to an explosive climax, but it certainly was not the movie I was expecting.

If you decide to check this movie out, be sure to stay after the credits.