In the last few years, we’ve seen Liam Neeson take deep departures from his career-defining rolls as Oskar Schindler and Robert Roy MacGreggor to become the ass-kicking Bryan Mills in ‘Taken’ and Batman’s Ra’s Al Ghul. The “new” Liam Neeson continues in ‘The Grey’, where he plays Ottway, a sharpshooter on an Alaskan oil-refinery who keeps his colleagues safe from all the four-legged baddies that nature has to offer - wolves being the specialty of the day. When the plane delivering Ottway and his cohorts home crashes in the Alaskan wilderness, the lack of food, water, shelter and severe weather conditions are the least of their problems when a pack of wolves begin to pick them off one by one, fighting them for food and territory.
In place of cannibalism found in your typical “plane crash” movie, ‘The Grey’ (which re-teams Neeson with director Joe Carnahan after 2010’s severely underrated ‘The A-Team’) promotes existential themes with religious undertones without shoving them down your throat - rather, it merely asking that you think. The film's high tension is broken up by Ottway’s haunting visions of his wife, which only adds to Ottway’s intrigue - especially after his suicide attempt early in the film (pre-crash), an event that constantly hangs over the character’s head and provokes the question of his leadership over the group of survivors.
The film has a quiet emotionality to it that is surprisingly sincere and thought provoking, leading to a conclusion that's a far cry from a light and fluffy life-affirming happy ending one might expect - it’s this break from tradition that contributes to the film's great success. The characters are great, as is their tension and volatile relationship as they fight for survival. No one comes away from this unscathed one way or another, which is what makes this film so darn entertaining and original. This film is for any Liam Neeson fan and those who love to spend their time on the edge of their seat.
No one comes away from this unscathed one way or another, which is what makes this film so darn entertaining and original.
REVIEWER'S NOTE: There is a bonus scene (if you can even call it that) after the credits. It’s not worth the wait. If you want to stay, then stay and be disappointed. If you still want to know but can’t be bothered staying, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or send me a tweet @MissJess_Switch.