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Live or Die on this day
The Grey (DVD)
Member Name: carlz2001uk
The Grey (DVD)
Advantages: Tense, good pace, Neeson
Disadvantages: Depressing, ended abruptly, FX hit and miss, poor acting, controversy
My husband had been going on about The Grey for months, so when it appeared on Sky Premier on Friday night he couldn't contain his excitement. I on the other hand was less enthusiastic. I don't know why, but I just didn't fancy it. I'm normally a fan of Liam Neeson but the advertising I had seen for it just didn't seem to capture me.
The film is set in Alaska where a group of oil workers board a plane to fly home. The plane is full of hillbilly type men, and when they fly through bad turbulence they inevitably crash (what film sees a plane go through turbulence and not crash?!). The scene centres on John Ottway (Liam Neeson), but slowly we come to realise that there are other survivors. The scene for about 5 - 10 minutes is quite traumatic as Ottway stumbles upon people from the plane who have been horrifically injured or who haven't survived. What becomes clear pretty quickly is that they have crash landed in the middle of nowhere in blizzard conditions and their chance of being found before they die through literally freezing or starving to death is pretty slim.
Ottway soon takes charge as their situation worsens when they realise they have become the prey of a pack of wolves. By chance Ottway is a marksman, employed by the oil rig to protect the oil riggers from the wolves. What follows is a story of survival as the survivors play cat and mouse with the carnivorous wolves. The storyline was pretty cheesy if I'm honest but it was tense in quite a few places and had a decent enough pace.
The effects were so so, on some occasions the wolves were excellent and then on others it was appalling. I really do think film fans expect more than this nowadays. If I'm perfectly honest, I found the film quite depressing throughout, the wolf pack are relentless and there is little hope throughout the film for the survivors. There is no happy thoughts or reminiscing through the film, it's just pretty miserable all the way through!
For those thinking of watching the film, don't switch off at the end credits like I did. There is a short post credit scene which ends the film a little better than I had first thought.
Quite surprisingly for me, the film seems to have received quite a good reception both critically and from viewers of the film, but I just didn't rate it that much. I'm going to give it three stars which I think is being quite generous, and this is purely because it kept my attention, however I was being quite annoying and making lots of bitchy remarks throughout the film, like 'oh come on, as if', 'how depressing', 'and the point of that was', you get my drift. It did end quite abruptly which I don't ever like, I often want more information or explanation of a film, particularly so in the case of this film.
I think the film has also attempted to be quite philosophical and is slightly deeper (emotionally) than it needed to be. There has also be controversy surrounding the film, and I think rightly so too. The film has come under fire for its depiction of the grey wolf in the film, by animal welfare groups such as PETA, as it depicts the wolves as dangerous and only in a negative light. There was also controversy when it was reported that the production team had bought the carcasses of four wolves to use in the film and also to eat. Hmmm, perhaps not the best idea! The director supposedly downplayed the emphasis of the violent wolves and instead highlighted 'the significance of man's internal struggle for survival'! See - it's just pretentious! I also highly suspect that a lot of the depictions of the grey wolf is wholly inaccurate anyway.
Acting wise, I think Neeson has been slightly let down by the rest of the cast and Neeson is the one and only in this film in my opinion.
I'm obviously in the minority however, as the $25 million budget was absolutely smashed with its $77 million takings. Not bad for an 'okay' film ; )
To summarise, watch if you really want but it's not the best.
"Once more into the fray...
Into the last good fight I'll ever know.
Live and die on this day...
Live and die on this day..."
Summary: 3 stars