Title: The Grey
Genre: Action, Adventure
Director: Joe Carnahan
Ian Machenzie Jeffers
Music: Marc Streitenfeld
Cinematography: Masanobu Takayanagi
James Badge Dale
My very first film in 2012 starts with this snow wilderness wolf-grapple thriller in the local multiplex, which stars the career-rebooting matinée action idol Liam Neeson (who has established a singularly bankable esteem in the genre which used to be Harrison Ford’s strong suit after a mega-lucrative TAKEN 2009, and a lesser profit-maker UNKNOWN 2011), whose 2012 is destined to be prolific and my deep condolence for him to overcome his widower phase (though almost 3 years has passed).
The film utilizes mostly generic horror stunts to be frightening or mind-blowing in the face of it is an action thriller under an extreme circumstance. A stereotypical alignment of the plane-crash survivors and one-by-one in succession casualty has never been more well-worn as the most primary template. Against all the hindrances above, director Joe Carnahan (from Neeson-billed THE A TEAM 2010) cannily underscores a character study beneath the action exterior, depicts a heart-felt dire strait to excavate the supreme valor of pulling through even for a man who is so distressful in his life and almost commits the suicide if not being stopped by wolves’ howl.
Another major bonus is the ending, unlike its genre peers, the film unorthodoxly takes its curtain call exactly when we expect a final human vs. wolf showdown, a scheme abruptly counterbalances all the adrenalin drive cached for almost two hours and unanticipatedly generates an authentic gratification. PS: I strongly advise that please remain in your seat after the ending credits (which I ruefully missed).
The all-male troupe is well-balanced, with Frank Grillo and Dallas Roberts popping out tellingly in their sidelined roles, the leading man Liam Neeson is once again bears out that age is never an obstruction for him and the knack has been honed to perfection eventually, and his ultimate epiphany and emotional evocation is paving his way for some award recognition in the offing (not likely for this film but please give him some meaty role for christ’s sake!).