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The Grey (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy + UltraViolet)
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207 of 248 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon January 26, 2012
Format: DVD
There were a lot of things that felt like they were kept secret on purpose before sitting down and viewing The Grey for the first time. The trailer hints at the movie being nothing more than a survival thriller starring Liam Neeson as he struggles to survive not only the unrelenting cold elements, but also the ferocious wolves that inhabit his surroundings. The Grey is written and directed by Joe Carnahan, the man who brought us Smokin' Aces and The A-Team. The movie is also produced by Tony and Ridley Scott, which you think the marketing campaign would jump all over but doesn't even mention. Not only that, but there is quite a bit more to the movie than the trailer and TV spots let on.

As the movie begins, Ottway (Liam Neeson) narrates a letter he's writing to his wife. This segment just made me realize what my life is lacking most right now and that's a Liam Neeson voiceover for every thought that crosses my mind. Think about that. It'd be the most amazing thing ever. The trailer reveals a few major things: that Ottway is stranded in the middle of nowhere in the blistering cold thanks to a plane crash and that wolves stand in the way of him actually surviving this ordeal. The plane crash itself is one of the best executed in recent memory. The way it's filmed and edited is downright ruthless. It's as if you're on the plane as it goes down. The Grey doesn't just place you in this blizzard-ridden hell infested with wolves, it kicks your teeth down your throat, laughs in your face, and throws you into it with everything it has.

The movie gives new meaning to some of the simplest things. Seeing your breath in cold weather takes on an entirely new definition and the way The Grey deals with death just feels incredibly powerful. Ottway questions faith right from the start and takes matters into his own hands throughout the movie. The events that transpire take a toll on even the most religious plane crash survivors. Death is more of a relief than something worth distancing yourself from. Ottway describes it as being a warm sensation and thinking about the thing you love most in life before completely giving yourself into it. Many of the campfire conversations are entirely more impactful than they have any right to be. The conversation about faith in general hits you like a potato sack full of cinder blocks.

The Grey manages to shout its message even when there's nothing being said on-screen. One of the images that stuck with me long after the movie ended was the shot of blood flowing into the paw print of a wolf in the snow. There's a scene by the river that strictly relies on sound and the way you succumb to it is nothing more than brilliant. There's another shot at the end of the film where (and I'm trying to avoid spoilers the best I can) Ottway is arranging some objects in the snow. The way Liam Neeson's fat, sausage-like fingers delicately wrap themselves around these objects and the way his hands tremble as he does this illustrates not only what this man has been through, but also that he's at the end of his rope. Plus the movie will make you want to look over your shoulder the next time you consider relieving yourself out in nature somewhere.

That level of greatness The Grey eventually achieves isn't around at all times. Some lame dialogue does squeak through and characters manage to do really stupid things at times (John Diaz, played by Frank Grillo, especially), but that seems to help the movie more than anything. People, real people, occasionally do stupid things especially when they're scared. So this kind of made the characters feel more genuine and made it very clear that certain characters were caving under pressure.

There was a movie that came out back in 2000 that was called Vertical Limit. It was one of my most trying times at the movie theater. I fought vehemently to leave about halfway through because I hated it so much, but I was with people at the time who wanted to stay until the end. It was probably one of the worst experiences I've ever had to pay for. The Grey is basically everything I wanted that movie to be. The cast is fantastic, their actions are mostly believable, and there's this meaning to everything that really speaks to you.

The Grey is a grainy thriller that knocks the wind out of you on more than one occasion. In fact, it's rare that the movie actually allows you to catch your breath. Everything is such a raw, vicious, and brutal test of faith. It's fantastically violent and Liam Neeson is superb. If The Grey is anything to fall back on, then 2012 is going to be one hell of a year for movies.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 7, 2014
Format: DVD
Released in January, at first glance you think this is going to end up being a bad movie. Because previous experience tells you, that January is the dumping month for movies, the month only bad films are released in. But, that is not always the case. And I should have known better being as 'Liam Nelson' stars, and his films are usually always decent. Except for his very forgettable 'Taken 2'. So, due to the very unusual bad weather, I had nothing more to do, then to Netflix the day away. And one of the films I happened to watch was this, 'The Grey'. A film that keeps you glued to the screen until that very heart-clenching final image. Now, onto my review of 'The Grey'.

'The Grey' follows a group of oil men, who become stranded in the middle of Alaska, after their plane crashes, who are forced to adapt and survive the cruel weather, as well as a pack of viscous, gray wolves who stalk the group, helping to pick them off one by one, in a joint effort with the environment.

Together, 'The Grey' is a simple survival movie; it's just the way it is told that keeps you interested. Instead of lingering at one place for a long period of time, 'The Grey' moves at a swift pace, stopping for a breathe every once and a while. It keeps you on the edge of your seat. The pacing slows when it has to, and runs the whole rest of the way with more and more obstacles popping up to try to block the path. And with that, the viewers become intertwined with the characters. You become more and more involved in the story. You sense the urgency, which is presented with the pacing.

Along the way during those times when the film feels it needs to take a breath, you learn more about the characters who are thrusted onto the game board. While it fleshes out the characters, in the end, you really have lackluster feelings about them. While you do become emotionally connected to a few of them, the others, you could care less about, they're just there to build up the body bags, and add up the sense of necessarity for the important, more emotionally connect characters to survive. In the end, as the characters start being pulled out of the game, you feel little to nothing for them, as they end up just being pieces in a puzzle.

However, while the characters are lackluster, the actors try their best to better themselves. 'Liam Nelson' leads the film with veteran ease, quickly becoming necessary for survival, as well as, emotionally connected to him. He played out as the kind of guy you want to lead you, the kind of hard guy with a sad past. The rock. Nelson again proves he has a great ability to lead a film, as well as to make chemistry with his co-stars out of thin air. Of his co-stars 'Frank Grillo' comes to mind, as the scared, aggressive, mean, and sarcastic survivor of the plane crash, who questions Nelson's leadership qualities several times. He has a way of coming off as unlikable, and then turning slowly into a more insecure, sad guy. He plays off well enough and holds his own up until his end. And as for the rest of the cast, well they did decent performances, just not ones I'm willing to take the time to note in particular.

The direction from, 'Joe Caranhan' works well. Coming off of 'The A-Team' he tackles his follow-up, 'The Grey'. And succeeds in creating a fairly good film. He knew exactly what he was doing and how to do it, and the film ended up coming out completely how it might as it would in reality. He knew what angles he wanted to take, and where he wanted his cast and crew to be.

A problem the film has is the editing. Some of it comes out as glitchy, and when you watch the men fight the wolves in a few of the scenes, the shots kind of go too quickly or to slowly, and don't roll out perfectly smooth. Some of the shots come off rough, and not smooth and flowing.

The film does feature of the note music, composed by 'Marc Streitenfeld'. The music fits the scenes, and raises the thrill level. It adds emotional depth when necessary but doesn't go overboard, or get too deep and loud, as most survival movie music tends to go. It underplays the film, coming in slowly, and never getting very loud, but just high enough to help make your heart jump.

Some may agree but others may disagree about the subject of the film's abrupt ending. Our lead ends up face to face with the leader of the pack of wolves, he takes out his knife and they stare down each other, and when he's just about to charge the beast, the film cuts to black. I have to say I was left bewildered by the ending, as I expected the usual, of which he gets saved and bla-bla-bla unoriginal ending. But instead we get this, and the viewer is left to guess the fate of its lead. It's a bit disappointing for someone interested in seeing the lead finally reach some sort of peaceful resolution after so much hardship and suffering, but no. We never know what became of him. If he survived or if he died. Now I have to say it works and doesn't. It seems to conclude the film, but not. The film ducks out of the fight at the last moment, when it could have had a more drawn out conclusion. It is original, and keeps you in, but seems disappointing and lazy as well.

All and all, 'The Grey' works as a solidly built survival movie lead by an impressive performance from 'Liam Nelson, and good pacing and character development, but we all wish the characters were alittle less unlikable and the editing more smooth and clean. B- 3/3/14
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 6, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant VideoVerified Purchase
This film seems to me to be heavily colored by the characteristics of historically popular fairy tales, of the Grimm variety. Although in our time and culture, we think of fairy tales as being suitable reading for children, in their original forms, many of these stories are dark and deal with the extremes of philosophical analysis of existence and its purpose.

The actions taken by the characters in the film are certainly not the choices I would have made; but they are the kinds of choices that characters in fairy tales make, in order to resolve their real problems, and confront their real monsters. Those who were displeased with this film based on its illogic in a real sense may have missed the point and the heart of what was being done here. Granted, it's an odd film, and irrationality is confrontational to those who are sitting in nice, warm, comfy places, free to orchestrate from their recliners. But come at this film from a different perspective, realizing that it is, quite obviously, intended to move beyond realism into a different realm, and the seeming irrationality will take on different harmonics.

Also, ***SPOILER ALERT***....

Be sure you watch the film entirely to the end, including through the credits (fast-forwarding through those), as there is a bit of additional content at the very end which concludes the story.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon October 14, 2012
Format: Amazon Instant Video
Liam Neeson has quickly become an even bigger star than he already was thanks to the first Taken movie. Since then, he's appeared in more action movies, with the big one after Taken being The Grey. I was excited to see it, as the trailers showed just enough to get you interested, and it looked like he was going to be fighting wolves instead of European traffickers.

However, the trailer is probably the reason this movie's getting so many mixed reviews.

Neeson plays Ottoway, a marksman who was hired to kill wolves in Alaska. He's haunted by flashbacks of his wife, and sets out to kill himself after taking out a wolf. He's unable to do so, and heads back for his plane to go home with the oil workers. It's a stormy night though and the plane has a lot of turbulence, making for a bumpy flight. The bumpy flight soon turns into a nightmare- the plane is ripped apart in mid-flight and crashes. Ottoway wakes up and sees complete destruction (to say the least), finding only a small handful of survivors. The men set up camp at the crash site for the night, only to be disturbed by wolves. These wolves aren't just passing by though...they want the men dead. Even a little provoking by one of the men proves to be a big mistake as the wolves respond, showing just how outnumbered the men are. In the middle of nowhere, without any real supplies and weapons, and with a bad egg or two in the group, how are they going to make it out of this alive?

There's so much that could've been standard with The Grey, but I was amazed at how quickly things moved along and how it kept my interest from beginning to end. Ottoway is a great character, not being the perfect leader. How often do we get stories like this, where the group is led by someone with no flaws? Ottoway admits that he's scared right off the bat, and that there's no shame in it. Why bother trying to show how manly you are in a situation like this? He might come off as cool and relaxed, but the guy shares a couple of laughs with the others at appropriate times. It's good to see that. The other survivors are all given a good amount of time for the most part, and whenever one of them was threatened, no matter how they may have been acting just seconds before, I cared. One man tells a story about his daughter and her long hair, how she'll swing it around in his face to get him up. We find out that another had a sister that passed away when he was a kid, and he still hurts from it. There's a lot I want to say about these characters but doing so would ruin a bit of the movie.

The cast is good, and The Grey has a lot more than just that going for it. The Alaskan scenery is absolutely beautiful. A lot of the locations reminded me of the snowy winters of Oregon I saw when I was younger. There's a scene that takes place by a stream, and you can tell that the director let it play out long enough for you to enjoy the beauty. And how about the plane crash at the beginning? Good lord, I haven't seen anything that intense in a long time. The last big plane crash scene I saw was probably in the first Final Destination, and the one here easily beats it. Before it was even halfway over, I didn't ever want to step foot on a plane again, blizzard or not. One more thing I'll mention is the 'philosophical' nature of the movie. A lot of people have complained about this, and I don't understand why. It's not overdone, not preachy, and it was cool getting something like that in an action-thriller movie. The only thing slightly overdone is the poem that Ottoway reads a couple of times. It's a great poem the first and last time we hear it, and I wish it was only these two times that we heard it.

What keeps The Grey from getting a full 5 stars in my book is the wolf attack scenes...and I can't really fault them for how they did it. Wolf attack sequences are usually done at night with a lot of camera movement to add suspense. The first time the wolves attacked, I was on the edge of my seat, and also unsure of what exactly was going on because it seemed like I was staring at a black screen for a few seconds at one point. In fact, I'm pretty sure I was. I feel things could've been a little cleaner with this part. I'm just glad they didn't take the cheap way out and give us CG wolves. How embarrassing would it be to see men facing the elements, and then a CG wolf pops out? The other small complaint I have is just a pattern I noticed about the movie. It made me laugh when I realized that the movie's pattern is: walk, set up camp, get attacked, walk, set up camp, get attacked. Of course they do a little more here and there. It's just something I noticed.

Those little nitpicks aside, I didn't have any problems with the ending. With how much the poem is drilled into your head, I thought it was pretty obvious what happened, especially when you see the quick scene after the credits. I guess if people are complaining about a movie being 'too philosophical', then it shouldn't surprise me that the ending needs to be spoon-fed to them. If you haven't seen The Grey yet, you're missing out.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on May 20, 2012
Format: Amazon Instant Video
What made me post is that many of the reviews seem to focus on the WOLF aspect of the movie. For me, the movie was about something else. Not until the end, did I decide that the movie was mostly about coping with death. Knowing that death is imminent and exploring different reactions.
My wife is an M.D. and had to do a rotation on an oncology ward and she gave me some perspectives on this. And actually, I'm not sure it is 100% but it could be, that in the movie, the protagonist's SO [significant other] (wife, girfriend) "leaves him" by dying of cancer. I am sure that we are supposed to think she died of some medical issue. And this was not clear until near the end. Before that he says "you left me" but maybe we could think she just broke up with him.
So, ultimately we know that she struggled with death - and she probably knew that it was an impossible struggle. She tells him not to be afraid. Perhaps when she said the words she meant - he should not be afraid of her death - but at the end of the movie - we think she means he should not be afraid of his own death.
Throughout the movie, the protagonist is portrayed as being more comfortable with death than most of those around him. He might have made a good oncology nurse! He is shown perhaps comforting the wolf that he just shot - giving us the impression that he is perhaps grieving for the wolf. He also comforts a mortally wounded survivor after the plane crash, telling him that he will die and asking him to think of someone he loves (his daughter) in his final moments. These actions also have the side affect of calming the other survivors.
And finally at the end, we are given the impression that the protagonist knows he will met his death, but does not try to run away.
There are variously recognized stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Barganing, Depression, Acceptance and we certainly see all of these portraied by the various humans in the movie. But for me the primary theme is the struggle through these stages against an impossible situation in which death is certain. The parallel between the protagonist's SO and the protagonist himself reinforces this theme.

This movie cannot be very popular, because while it contains one of the Freudian requirements (violence) it does not contain the other (Sex). There are no short skirts or high heels in this movie!

And this movie reminds me a bit of another movie that was not popular, Thin Red Line. In that movie the protagonist's mother dies of a medical issue and he thus becomes more familiar with death and the stages of grief. On Guadalcanal he faces death with more acceptance than most of his compatriots. Woody Harelson for instance dies cursing his own stupidity. The protagonist accepts his death with perhaps a bit too much ease, but the movie makes its point - and the point is (for me at least) the same point made in THE GREY. That some of us can move through the stages of grief to the end (acceptance), while others cannot.

I enjoyed the movie - but I do not think I would watch it 20 times - it is perhaps too painful.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on May 21, 2012
Format: Blu-ray
What's it about?

Liam Neeson has a fly in/ fly out job in the Alaskan wilderness, but on his return home his plane crashes and miraculously survives, along with a number of others onboard. Now they are being hunted by a pack of rabid wolves, and boy, are they relentless. Who knew surviving a plane crash would be the easy part?

Is it any good?

This is the type of movie that could have been very cheesy in less than capable hands, fortunately though this isn't the case. The film is a wonderfully crafted visual film, interspersed with memorable actions scenes, and fantastic character driven performances. Seriously, who doesn't love Liam Neeson? He could make a kids home movie feel intense. Here he lends the film credibility which could have been lost with a completely different cast. The CGI wolves are very well done (i.e. not fake looking), with one scene in particular a stand out, as the gold eyes of the wolves cast down on the survivors in the night. Joe Carnahan is director you can rely on for a quality film, and in this case, he has more than delivered.

Best bit?

Liam Neeson and his buddy try to escape a wolf through a raging river, which will be sure to take your breath away. Yes, pun intended.

Did you know?

Bradley Cooper was originally cast, but was replaced with Liam Neeson.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 28, 2012
Format: DVD
SPOILERS BELOW

A very good movie, I thought, polemic ending or not.

The movie is really depressing, you really feel the weight and unoforgiveness of that environment (wolves present or not).

Acting is very good, and character development is good. What people want? That in series of highly dangerous events that occurs in the period ot two days maximum every character would be perfectly defined?

I got sad with the death of each single character, something very unusual in recent movies.

As for the supposed environmental flaws in the movie, can't talk about them (except for the scene where Ottawy falls into the freezing water and does not tries do dry himself. That was absurd. But, maybe, the final fight with the wolf came shortly after. Would that be time enough for him to freeze to death? I don't know).

Maybe people who are rating this so low are confusing things. Maybe they are giving it one or two stars not because it's bad, but because it is indeed depressing.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on May 31, 2012
Format: Amazon Instant Video
This movie goes onto my list of favorites. Liam Nelson provides a phenomenal performance and a very realistic side of human beings under great pressure is exposed in the movie. The situations created are realistic and keep you on the edge of your seat for the better part of this film. It also contains a surprisingly philosophical view that some will agree with and others will not. The one thing that limits this movie from being 5 stars? The use of the F- word. I understand under pressure people swear but the level in this movie was nothing short of unnecessary. It might add to the movie, but after the 90th time of hearing it... you get the picture.

READ THIS PART IF NOTHING ELSE.
Many say the ending was horrible (I watched it with friends, when it ended we all literally yelled), but we happened to keep it on through the credits. AFTER THE CREDITS THERE IS (about) A 2 SECOND SCEENE. WATCH IT. I happened to draw a parallel between this scene and an earlier one that gave me a whole other understanding of the end of this film.
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34 of 50 people found the following review helpful
on March 27, 2012
Format: Blu-ray
The Grey is one of the greatest survival movies I have ever seen, The plane crash seen alone is worth huge props. It is right up there with "Alive", and "The Edge". It starts out a little slow. But once the plane crashes its a chess match between man and beast. And oh yeah, dont forget mother nature, These guys are extremely outmatched, they have no food, no weapons, they are being hunted by a pack of wolves. And to top it all off, they are in the middle of the Alaskin wilderness, with no civilization in sight.It is a treat to watch Liam Neeson in my opinion, one of his greatest performances to date. Just an all around epic movie, If you like outdoorsie flicks, survial stuff etc. you will love The Grey. I give it two huge thumbs up, one last thing, the score for this movie is perfect, subtle tones , nothing overbearing like loud drums, just perfect, especially at the ending, the music was perfect for the mood.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 28, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant VideoVerified Purchase
A hard core story thats real but simple , survival . Leaving most people behind . Spectacular scenery and on the
edge of your seat drama with unexpected action . It is rather a slow mover at times , but not bad . Once you start this
story you don't want get up and miss a scene or you'll miss the plot . If you liked Taken and Taken 2 , this is a movie
you should watch . Not for everyone is the reason for a four star rating : )
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