MOVIE REVIEW: 'The Grey' a potent blend of action, emotion

Most of the marketing for “The Grey” made it look like the film was going to consist mostly of Liam Neeson beating up wolves for a couple hours.

While “The Grey” provides plenty of the action shown in previews, it also manages to introduce a significant amount of depth and emotion into the tale of burly men surviving in the wilderness.

The film follows a group of men trying to survive in the Alaskan wild after their plane ride takes a turn for the worse. After the plane crash, Neeson’s character, Ottway is quickly established as the alpha-male of the group, and the only one who seems to have any idea how to survive the ordeal.

Ottway is often very stoic and collected: he does what needs to be done and is usually the one making decisions when things start to get rough.

He is not completely robotic, however. Quick flashbacks allude to a deeper story beneath his hard exterior, and the film does a nice job of explaining just enough of the back story without explicitly stating exactly what happened. There are also moments when Ottway shows compassion and fear, which help to humanize him further.

The same goes for the other characters in the film. They all seem tough, but they also have depth that helps make the audience actually care about what happens to them.

Even with the emotional touch, there are still plenty of scenes in “The Grey” meant to get the audience’s adrenaline racing. Many of those scenes involve a pack of wolves stalking the group of men.

The wolves act as a constant source of tension throughout the film. There is an uneasy feeling of anticipation every time night falls. The viewer knows the wolves are there; it’s just a matter of when they will attack.

This is where “The Grey” can wear a little thin at times. Some parts seem more like a slasher film, where people keep dropping like flies one-by-one. The group’s actions also seem a little unrealistic at times, such as the part where one man jumps across a huge chasm and somehow lives.

The film still provides an enjoyable experience, despite some of its shortcomings. It does a great job of building tension and also creates characters that feel real and have good chemistry. Overall, “The Grey” is still an action movie at heart, but one that has a more emotional impact than most.

Genre: Action, Drama Rated: R (Restricted) Score: 4 out of 5


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