Movie Review: The Grey (2012)


What does it take for your to survive? And I’m not just talking about basic needs like food or water, I mean everything else that can come into play. Are you the strong-willed leader or are you the one who will most likely break down and die first? It’s difficult to say. You also have to ask; What lengths am I iwlling to go to for survival? Think about that one.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Grey”.

John Ottway (Liam Neeson) works as a marksman/bodyguard for an Alaskan oil company. Then when he and a bunch of workers hop on a plane to get the hell out of the camp they were staying in, it crashes in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness. Surviving the crash are Ottway and six of the workers. They scavenge anything they can from the crashed remains of the plane. So now they have to survive in the middle of fuckin’ nowhere. And if the cold doesn’t kill them, the wolves will. Yes, there is a pack of wolves stalking and hunting them. And from that we get an exciting tale of survival that is really suspenseful and surprisingly thoughtful. It doesn’t only present this as a “Ooo, who’s gonna get picked off next?” type of story, but it is surprisingly philosophical and really asks what takes of you as a man to take this. It’s also really character-driven which is not something I expected at all with this. With my rambling I am trying to say that I really liked the plot of the movie.

Like I said, this movie heavily character-driven. And when you want the characters to drive your movie, you better make damn sure they are interesting characters. And I’m not gonna lie, they actually succeeded pretty well with these characters. Not only do they have a lot of depth as characters, but they are also really well acted. I think it goes without saying that Liam Neeson was great in this movie, playing a badass like in “Taken” but still being a vulnerable and even broken man. Every other actor was great too. I also think it was fun seeing Frank Grillo in a great role because I really like that guy, he’s a really good actor. Everybody was in fact good and every character was great and helped drive the story.

The score for “The Grey” was composed by Marc Streitenfeld who also did the scores for movies like “American Gangster” and “Prometheus” which is fitting since both of those were directed by Ridley Scott who was a producer on this movie. Anyway, enough of that little bonus fact. Now what did I think of the score itself? It was pretty damn great. The score manages to help build a lot of tension, but it also manages to be emotional and thought provoking which really shows that Streitenfeld has great skill as a composer. Yeah, it’s pretty great.

This movie was directed by Joe Carnahan who also did the “A-Team” movie (Oh shit). But fear not because unlike “The A-Team”, this movie is very well directed. The shots look great and everything looks pretty steady. And the cinematography is gorgeous, taking full use of the location that they’re in. That’s right, they are in an actual location that is cold as hell and isn’t a green screen in a studio. And the wolves were actually animatronic. Okay fine, when you see them in full motion and running, they are CG. But there are a lot of animatronics used as well which is kind of awesome. I have to also admit that there were a few times where the movie was a little scary, almost like a horror movie. There especially two moments that made me go “Oh shit… that’s actually a little scary”. I’ll show a picture of one of those moments that isn’t really much of a spoiler since it was in the trailer.

“The Grey” has gotten a little bit of a mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 79% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 64/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3,5/4 stars. And on it has a score of 6,8/10.

“The Grey” is a tense and exciting survival movie featuring some badass wolves vs. a badass Liam Neeson. But it’s plot is also surprisingly deep and thought provoking, the acting is terrific, the music is great, the directing is really good and the cinematography is gorgeous. Time for my final score. ARH-WOOOOOOOO! My final score for “The Grey” is a 9,86/10. It definitely gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “The Grey” is now completed.

Listen here wolf, I don’t know who you are, but I have a very particular set of skills.



One thought on “Movie Review: The Grey (2012)

  1. I thought this was pretty good, though wouldn’t mark it quite as highly as you did, Markus. Sometimes, the wolves were a little too large, and the CGI/Robotics was evident. It is a kind of thrilling ride though, as you say, and like ‘Taken’, with wolves instead of gangsters!
    Best wishes, Pete,

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