“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.”Ottway
Joe Carnahan’s survival thriller falls squarely into the grizzled man versus nature blueprint, Liam Neeson leading a handful of oil workers through the Alaskan wilderness as they are stalked by a pack of wolves. The Grey explores the human reaction to becoming prey, fear of the wolves being as dangerous to the group as the wolves themselves. The action is sparing, with suspense crafted more through the push and pull of threat and stand-off, fire being the group’s strongest tool both as a defence and to stave off the freezing temperatures. Whilst it may lack the audaciously complex cinematography of Iñárritu’s The Revenant, there is still a sense of beauty and grandeur to the vast and desolate snow-covered landscape. Only a few characters are developed during the film’s quieter moments, most notably Frank Grillo’s Diaz, who initially seems a stereotypical contrarian antagonist. The Grey‘s abrupt ending will frustrate some viewers though it is what I anticipated and, I think, what works best for the film; a few seconds of post-credits footage offer slightly more certainty for those who require it.