The Grey is, unfortunately, a Liam Neeson movie that I was thoroughly disappointed with. Now, typically I’m not so up in arms when a movie isn’t realistic, but when a movie like this comes out, in which the main purpose is to simulate real survival situations, realism begins to play a much more important role… or so you’d think. The Grey is so entirely full of logical fallacy that… I can’t even think of a sarcastic comment to describe it. It was just bad. I’ll admit, it wasn’t the worst movie I’ve ever seen (shout out to you Knowing and 2012) but it’s certainly up… erm, down, there.
Not only does it not make sense logically, but there is very little character development along the course of the film, and more importantly, none that evoke any emotion. Sure there are a few flashbacks into Neeson’s character’s (I never even caught half of their names) past, but they don’t give you any information even though the film makes you believe that these flashback moments are his driving force. He had a wife? Cool. He had a stereotypical Irish dad? Awesome. There’s nothing in that to substantiate his actions throughout the film. I would even understand if these flashbacks built up suspense or indicated that there was something more, but they were literally the same flashbacks repeated about 4 times each until the very end of the movie. Compared to other Neeson films, this was terrible. Compared to other movies in general… this was still pretty terrible.
Going back to the gaping holes in the logic, a lot of that has to do with the misrepresentation of the wolves throughout the whole film. For instance, the wolves are deterred by fire early in the film when the plane first crashes and they just built a fire. Yet when the guy on look out grabs a torch and goes to relieve himself, the wolves attack him… right next to a fire. This inconsistency occurs about 7 times throughout the film, and leads to a general apathy towards the action of the character’s because it was written in such a way that they can’t win. These are magic wolves. Secondly, wolves don’t just approach people. And even if they did, they certainly wouldn’t just kill someone and then leave. They kill to eat. Which leads me to my third point. It’d be fairly hard for wolves to kill a man when each of these wolves, at full maturity, is about 100 lbs, and each of these men are at least 200 and have knives and fire and McGyvered boom sticks. Most wolves cower at the approach of a human anyway, so the fact that they’re attacking an armed group of 7 is just ridiculous. If you feel the urge to unearth more problems in the representation of these wolves in this film, click here. Other cases in which the logic just wasn’t applied: when one of the character’s was plummeting off the edge of a snow covered cliff and his friend grabs the rope from which he hangs, he doesn’t slide across the snow… Snow tends to be slick. Also, in -10 degree weather, jumping into a river that would be even colder would probably put you in shock, or at least leave you without the ability to walk away fine within 5 minutes of walking out of the river.
Moreover, it was obvious that the big money was put into the visuals. The wolves, while entirely unrealistic, were stunning and looked great. Most of the scenes looked amazing, even though the falling snow, at times, looked a little bit like it was just an after effect. One scene I was a little thrown by was one of the first scenes near the river. It almost looked like they used a green screen, but that may have just been viewing angle or something. With the exclusion of that scene, everything looked great, so it wasn’t all bad! Just the plot, and the execution, and the character development…
After some discussion with a few other people I saw the movie with, they were under the impression (as is a good portion of the population of movie critics) that this film wasn’t about wolves at all, but is an allegory used to show how men react and bond in life threatening situations. So they postulate that this is more a reactionary film rather than a realistic film. However, even if it is one to show characters’ development in response to a terrifying situation (war, etc.), it would help if the danger they were presented with was at least plausible. And I already threw in my two cents regarding the character development. Sure some of them curse at God and change mindsets a little, but the big problem here is that we have no base to compare these changes to! Maybe Neeson’s character had a history of doubting the existence of God, we just don’t know, because we cannot compare it to anything. If it was intended to be an allegorical tale, it was missing that key step of introducing the characters effectively before the traumatic event.
In conclusion, I’m personally glad that I didn’t have to pay for a movie ticket to this. I would not recommend this film to anyone to be honest. While it wasn’t the worst film I’ve ever seen, it certainly is one of the worst I’ve seen in a while. This is doubly disappointing because I generally love Liam Neeson, but even his decent performance couldn’t compensate for this film’s lack of logic or story. If you want to spend money to see a movie, and you’re dead set on a Liam Neeson movie, go watch Taken. Or A-Team. Or anything he was in that isn’t The Grey. Do yourself the favor and save the disappointment.
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