Just moments before the midnight showing of Liam Neeson’s newest film “The Grey,” the theater seats slowly filled by an easy-going, light-hearted crowd of mostly high school and college students or couples on dates. The preconception here is that anyone who still decides to go out and see a Liam Neeson film is already familiar with and has no delusions about his one, static, unvarying style of acting. Either he or she is a huge fan or is just amused by the seemingly countless ways he can beat someone up in a damaged, sensitive kind of manner. If you have seen one of his films, you have seen them all.
“The Grey” was actually an extremely grueling experience to watch. The film did an excellent job of stimulating sensations of pain or discomfort in the audience by immersing them in the Arctic’s unbearably cold temperatures and loud, brutal winds.
Although “The Grey” is an action-thriller, it resembled “Twilight” much more than, say, the “Mission: Impossible” series. No, it is just not because the film featured wolves and miles and miles of redwood trees; all the scenes were dark, moody and quite depressing. However, for a movie that is based solely off of the notion that wolves are hunting a group of men, it supplied a fulfilling rising action of terrorizing moments back to back and thoughtful yet grotesque ways of killing off the characters. The death of each character (the cast was composed of all men) was ultimately heart breaking because all their individual stories were developed rigorously, making audiences cringe every time some version of a loving father of his six year old daughter was mercilessly torn apart by wolves in seconds.
The story is about Ottway (Liam Neeson), a forlorn and suicidal petroleum mineworker grieving the death of his wife, who is his muse throughout his journey. In a series of flashbacks with her, he is constantly torn from her arms and thrown back into whatever awful situation awaits him in his reality. After a terrifying and realistically depicted plane crash, he is stranded in the middle of nowhere, freezing with six other men. As anticipated over the course of two hours, each of them is conveniently killed off one by one, leaving Ottway as alone as he was in the beginning. One question arises: does he give up on himself as he had always planned, or does he continue to fight as he best as he can, like he did for everyone else? Finally, at what seems to be the height of the film and a conclusion to this struggling man’s dilemma, audiences are left with a very ambiguous and disappointing ending.
Even though it was not a complete waste of time, “The Grey” is an appropriate film to skip because of its predictability, its frustrating ending, and its bountiful supply of cheesy and awkward dialogue. If looking for a film of substance, “The Grey” is probably not a good choice. If intrigued by Liam Neeson’s undeniable talent for playing the exact same man in every movie, well, here he goes again (except this time, he’s punching wolves)!