Movies To Watch Tonight loves to review movies that are a mixed bag. It’s always impressive to see a great actor like Liam Neeson take on a somewhat unusual role in the movie The Grey and made it watchable. Without Liam Neeson I’m not sure who could have made The Grey work. Not Steve Carell. But perhaps Sean Connery. Actually Sean Connery might have pulled it off.
Movies To Watch Tonight Alert – Spoiler In The Review
Be careful when reading this movie review of The Grey from Movies To Watch Tonight as we will give away some of the events and we wouldn’t watch to spoil it for you.
The Grey is a survivalist thriller as a band of plane crash survivors struggle endlessly to reach civilizations while being relentlessly pursued by wolves. Originally when Movies To Watch Tonight asked for a review, I thought this Survivalists will love this film as it proves their point of having a lot of guns readily available.
But that’s not the entire plot of the film The Grey. You can check out this youtube.com teaser trailer of the movie The Grey.
The Grey Movie Review – What’s The Plot
To quickly summarize the plot, Liam Neeson plays John Ottway who works in an Alaskan remote refinery shooting wolves to protect workers who are out in the wilderness doing oil pipeline repair work. Anne Openshaw plays his wife and for a while the film slowly builds to where she is, there are some interesting scenes with her in it.
Anyway, Neeson’s character obviously is done with his life and wants to end it but the howling of a wolf brings him back from the dead, so to speak. Doesn’t really matter anyway as a jet plane crash later, Neeson and a small band of survivors are battling the elements and a wolf pack to try to make it to civilization.
But here at Movies To Watch Tonight we know there is always more to a movie than a simple plot.
The Grey Movie Review – What’s It Really About
The movie The Grey is another film about raging about the dying light. Lots of movies have covered this same subject and in many different formats and plots. I think what sets The Grey out is Liam Neeson himself. He is 60 in real life and a very bankable star. In The Grey, Neeson shows that despite all odds and knowing the eventuality, man will still strive to not accept that which lies in front of him.
There are so many clues as to what The Grey is about I am surprised that more viewers didn’t get it, so to speak. At the outset when the jet plane crashes Neeson assists one survivor in dying as “pleasantly” as possible. All along the way those who survived the plane crash keep giving clues as to the theme of this film. One of the survivors goes through the entire “acceptance of death” steps from anger to acceptance. Neeson himself pleads to God and there is no answer.
The men talk about the afterlife, loved ones and emotions of despair. Honestly the theme is beaten to death, yet so many reviews talk about the wolves and the wolves and the wolves. The wolves are just part of the process as after all death is not pleasant. Everywhere in The Grey the survivors speak on existential terms, reflect on God, their own lives and try to come to grips with what is happening. How could anyone miss this. The title of the movie itself is THE GREY.
Movie Review The Grey and Joe Carnahan
Well known writer / director Joe Carnahan does a good job with the screenplay and directing. While not spectacular, Carnahan does present the theme well and keeps the movie moving along at a reasonable clip. Carnahan is well-known for his screenplays of The A Team,Smoking Aces 2, Pride and Glory, Narc, Ticker, Blood, Guts, Bullets and Octane and others.
One interesting aspect of The Grey is Carnahan does not spend a lot of time on breath-taking scenery film shots in The Grey. Instead he uses the handful of film shots of scenery to fit well within the ever-present theme. The movie is not visually stunning like The Tree Of Life. It is also not a National Geographic special. It is about something a lot more sinister which every human will face. However, when Carnahan does take advantage of the scenery, it’s to illustrate the movie’s theme.
Movies To Watch Tonight Notable Mentions In The Movie The Grey
Cinematographer Masanobu Takayanagi does a top-notch job with the images of British Columbia which we are led to believe is Alaska wilderness. If you have been to northern British Columbia then you can understand the similarities. Flashbacks though are just okay in the film and at times they actually do not work.
Neeson isn’t the only great acting in The Grey. Viewers won’t recognize Dermot Mulroney who does a terrific job. Frank Grillo is very notable and I won’t say more about his role, and Dallas Roberts does a good supporting job as well.
Movies To Watch Tonight Not So Notable Moments
I grow increasingly tired of movies with stereotypical roles for black actors. I thought by now writers and directors would want to move away from these stereotypical roles (such as the black character being carried by a white cast or the character dying first or second just to have a black actor in the film) and begin developing the characters in the same light as the white characters. In The Grey, Nonso Anozie (of the Game Of Thrones and Conan The Barbarian fame) is among the first survivors to die because he isn’t physically strong enough to make it, and the white characters literally pull him along with them.
Yet he is one of the biggest and physically fit survivors there. However, the film makes him appear not quite as smart as the other survivors and give him a vague (albeit real) sickness relating to altitude. What is it with writers and placing black actors in films like this? This brings back memories of Stargate, the black soldier is the first one to die despite not even present during the first alien attack. In the first attack, the aliens simply knock out the first (white) group and, not only aggressively attacks the group with the black character, but the aliens kill him first. I’d like to find more movies to watch tonight with stronger, well-developed black characters.
The Grey Movie Stats
Liam Neeson / Ottway
Frank Grillo / Diaz
Dermot Mulroney / Talget
Dallas Roberts / Hendrick
Joe Anderson / Flannery
Nonso Anozie / Burke
James Badge Dale / Lewenden
Ben Bray / Hernandez
Anne Openshaw / Ottway’s Wife
Written and Directed by Joe Carnahan
Approximate US Box Office To April 2012 : $51 million
Estimated Cost To Make: $25 million
How Much Of Your Life Is Gone Watching This Film 1 hour 57 minutes
Is The Grey Worthy Of A Movies To Watch Tonight Approval Rating
One of the best lines in the film is right at the start with Neeson muttering “I’ve stopped doing this world any good.” That sets the tone of the movie, The Grey and that tone stays constant from beginning to end.
So is the movie The Grey worthy of your evening in front of the warm glow of your LCD or plasma panel? Probably. It moves along reasonably well, it beats its theme into you at every turn (so if you miss it I don’t know how), it has some good action scenes, its plods in places but then it is a movie with plane crash survivors struggling through knee-deep snow, wilderness and yes killer wolves as they try to make it somewhere so plodding is to be expected. The acting is decent and there is enough content and action to keep most viewers entertained.
It is not a horror, suspense, or thriller film. Many viewers have complained that it was boring and way to predictable but then death is somewhat predictable.
The Grey can be paused at just about any time and popcorn made or a pizza ordered, so overall it is worthy of a 3 out of 5 rating from Movies To Watch Tonight but The Grey certainly isn’t a top pick.