The Grey (2011)

2014 #85
Joe Carnahan | 112 mins | TV | 2.35:1 | USA / English | 15 / R

The GreyLiam Neeson shoots wolves for an arctic drilling company, but when his flight home crashes, he must attempt to lead the small band of survivors across an icy wilderness to the mere hope of safety — pursued all the way by murderous wolves…

Promoted as Neeson’s latest Taken-style actioner, The Grey is more of a survival horror, but with wolves instead of some mystical entity — though given the apparent lack of accuracy in the wolves’ behaviour, perhaps they’re supernatural after all. Between chases and escapes there’s a fair bit of existential pondering, including some literal staring at the sky and talking to an unresponsive God — “Bergman for Blokes”, you might say.

Couple this with an ambiguous ending, and the whole is unlikely to please the action-orientated folk the marketing targeted. You might think it’s better suited to an artier crowd, but, conversely, the equally-present genre elements may weigh too heavily for their tastes. At least one over-ambitious sequence rendered through mediocre special effects does little to help.

It’s very much a film of two co-existant halves, then. For anyone who can reconcile those disparate faces as they come, co-writer/director Carnahan has (some iffy special effects and suspect wolf behaviour aside) crafted an effectively tense, almost scary, movie.

4 out of 5