FIGHTING THE BIG BAD WOLF- a review of THE GREY
BY CHRIS UNDERDOG
But I can't expect myself to be more bad-ass than Liam Neeson for fuck sake! The man took on Nazis, sex-traffickers, Batman, THE MAN PLAYED FUCKING ZEUS FOR FUCK SAKE! I think it's safe to say that Mr. Neeson probably has a bigger cock than most of us men out there. But of course: it's just a movie. Mr. Neeson is just playing a part. But boy does the man convince. From just the start of the movie where Mr. Neeson narrates that he doesn't know ''If he's dammed or cursed'' to the moment where he puts the barrel of rifle into his mouth, contemplating to pulling the trigger until a wolf starts howling, howling for him to face the big bad wolf out there.
That's the wonderful thing about this movie: our leading character is a broken man. Broken by the loss of his love. He tells the viewers that he belongs to a world of outcasts, rejects, convicts and assholes. Many viewers might have already been surprised by that. Many might have thought this is just another Liam Neeson action fare. Even I suspected this to be true. Though the director Joe Carnahan did promise something more than. I have been a fan of many of his previous movies: NARC and even the much maligned SMOKING ACES. I wasn't a big fan of THE A-TEAM but I wasn't a big fan of the original show as well. Nevertheless I did enjoy seeing Mr. Neeson chomping on a fat cigar exclaiming how he loves it ''when a plan comes together''. But that's about all I remember from that fucking film.
Getting back to SMOKING ACES: whatever squabble you may have with the screenplay, there's no denying that Joe doesn't know how to get the tone right for every scene. The man can direct a highly stylized action scene and he can just as easily switch to a more moving scene. This is proven in the scenes from SMOKING ACES where those three Neo-nazi douchbags pump up bullet holes on security officers during a song from Prodigy, while also having a moving scene where Ryan Reynolds mourns for his partner Ray Liotta- this scene is accompanied by the ever reliable music from Clint Mansel. Joe can use just the right amount of flash while also giving it a gritty edge. You could speculate that that's why THE A-TEAM failed, as Joe was restricted to direct PG-13 fodder and maybe couldn't please the studio execs while also staying true to his own directive style. Maybe, fuck do I know. Maybe the script sucked ass as well.
Either way Joe is in perfect territory in THE GREY. A film blessed with a script that has all the bloodshed and tears that can Joe can fuck about with.
The story is ridiculously simplistic: after their planes crashes, the survivors face off the ice desolated landscapes of Alaska whilst also facing a pack of malevolent wolves. The story of course gives perfect room for our suicidal main character Ottway (Neeson) to discover his will to live. Yet luckily for us, Joe doesn't get mooshy on us. There's no overbearing sentimentalism to turn you off. The wolves are ferocious, blood thirsty monsters. The men on the other end are scared shit-less.
During the course of this movie we also get to know the other characters and while they are expertly played (mostly played by unknowns except for Dallas Roberts aka the neurotic asshole agent from SHRINK and Dylan Mulroney who I remember most as the waterbed salesman from ABOUT SCHMIDT). But it's all about Ottway in this movie and the rest of the character are more less a vehicle for his own personal revelation at the end of the movie. This is after all, all about Ottway's journey. Nevertheless most actors get their chance to shine. They are not just underwritten supporting characters. None of them are cliche's.
While the abrupt ending might annoy some (I also just read that there's an after credit scene, which I haven't seen, but explains the question which might be burning some) it does tell us enough about what the film is trying to say: fight the good fight. Don't be afraid of the big wolf.
THE GREY is about life people.
And It's message might not be a revelation to some, but I probably couldn't tell it any better...
RATING: FIVE STARS
And while most of us will hopefully never discover what true survival is, I hope that all of us get a touch of Mr. Ottway's revelation- about what does truly matters in this silly fucking life of ours...
THE MAN HAS A BIGGER COCK THAN YOU!