The Grey (2012)
It has been forever since I've been to a movie, over the summer in fact, but the missus and I made it this weekend. I jokingly said I would credit my sister-in-law for pulling babysitter duty and allowing us to go out, so thanks Corina!
Slim pickings in the movie choices however as we scrolled through them at dinner. Hmm, Underworld? Nah. Red Tails? Maybe, but it's been a while since I played Check Your Six! so probably not. Some George Clooney drama? Nope. Mission Impossible 3 with Tom Thumb? Never saw the first two, but I am a big fan of director Brad Bird. It was based on Liam Neeson's acting alone that put The Grey to the forefront. Well, that and an earlier screen time.
It was a good movie, but not what I expected. It is not an action-adventure romp with a happy ending. It's a dark, slow-paced, beautifully shot movie dealing with survival. Not just survival in the harsh elements, but survival on a human scale, pulling oneself through the worst thrown at you and still clawing to exist rather than succumbing to it.
The premise is a plane full of rough and tumble pipeline workers goes down in the Alaskan/Canadian wilderness. Amidst the wreckage a handful of survivors set out to find civilization. A trek made perilous by the elements, a trek made absolutely fatal by wolves. These are the skinny third generation zoo wolves you've seen, but the primal, alpha kings of the frozen tundra. Humans might have fire and sharp sticks, but home field advantage belongs to the wolves.
This was definitely a tense thriller. You had no idea what was going to happen next and moments of calm were abruptly shattered by brief, but insanely intense, violence. The main character, Neeson, wasn't a show stealer or really all that different from the other (albeit somewhat stereotyped) survivors. They were all in the same mess, and their fates all seemed equally sealed. The Grey wasn't what I was expecting, but I was pleased with what I got.