Tuesday, February 07, 2012

The Grey

Year: 2012
Director: Joe Carnahan
Cast: Liam Neeson, Frank Grillo, Dallas Roberts, Dermot Mulroney, Nonso Anozie, Joe Anderson

Plot: A group of men are trapped in the Alaskan wilderness after a plane crash, and are forced to survive the extreme weather and a pack of vicious wolves.

Review: I live in a country where censorship is a must, for whatever it is that the powers that be deem too sensitive for viewing. In the case of The Grey, they edited out 23 minutes of footage, and from what I hear, the reasons are not the usual "too violent, too much profanity" type. If I'm right, these cuts have taken away a great deal of emotional impact the film would have had on me and the rest of us Malaysian viewers. I have no idea why it happened, but yeah, that sucks. (I caught a scene on Youtube that I did not get to see in my initial screening, and I still had no idea why it didn't pass the censors)

But anyway, I can tell you that The Grey is a well made survival thriller in the same vein as The Edge, except instead of a bear, we have wolves, and the plot here is far more straightforward. And yet, The Grey shines thanks to the realism that Carnahan brings to the table, from the harsh Alaskan winter to the gore and carnage the wolves cause when they attack.

Liam Neeson is brilliant as Ottway, the sniper assigned to protect these men as they carry out their duty drilling oil in Alaska, but has to improvise after the crash as he has no weapon. His survival skills and leadership sense come into play as he does his best keeping the survivors alive. Ottway isn't just a sniper, he's a man with a sad past, and it plays a part when the climax approaches. Neeson is well supported by Frank Grillo, Dallas Roberts and the unrecognisable Dermot Mulroney, among others as the rest of the survivors.

The wolves themselves are certainly scary, a far cry from the ones we saw in Frozen. You could say that the ones in The Grey are like devils in the snow, and they show no mercy once they attack. Thankfully, the censors spared most of the violence and profanity here, but the reason behind the huge cut (I'm told it was the men's backstory and personal lives) still baffles me.

And then there's the ending, which may work for some people and not for others. Personally I wished there was more to it than what Carnahan gave us, but I'm guessing he chose emotional impact over a visual one.

Overall, The Grey is a solid man vs nature thriller. If you can help it, pick up the DVD when it comes out, I know I will. Watch this outside of Malaysia if possible. (3.5/5)

P.S.: Wait till the credits finish rolling, and look closely.

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