Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Grey


  The Grey really isn't for people looking for a simple action/survival movie.  It will almost certainly leave those people with a knot in their stomach.  The movie instead is a much more introspective, emotional handle on the same thing.  At times its incredibly visceral and intense, and at other times its quiet and poetic. If you're not ready for a strong emotional ride that will drag you through the trenches, then don't bother. Because odds are you won't be able to appreciate this amazing movie.

  As you probably gathered from the trailers, a bunch of guys survive a plane crash and must brave artic weather and a pack of vicious monster-like wolves in order to survive.  Theres a scene very early in the movie that sets the entire tone and defines Neeson's character, John Ottway.  I won't spoil it, but its very sad yet strangely calm.  You don't see many scenes like this in movies.  It was a very stunning scene and very unique as well.  I knew right away where this movie was going and that I was going to love it.

  The atmosphere of the movie is very matter-of-factly. Its not styled like a big budget action movie with survival elements, despite being marketed that way. The only think setting it apart from entering that almost documentary shot style is the handheld camera and such. It doesn't feel like we're looking at actors on a movie set, these men genuinely look tired, scared, and on edge.  After so many movies that have tried to do the same thing, I'd become desensitized to feeling the impact. Almost all of them have predictable endings. You can tell by halfway in whether its going to be...
A: Everyone survives - Happy go lucky ending
B: Everyone dies - Horribly pessimistic, yet probably most realistic
or
C: The two handsome lead actors survive but for some reason end up fighting each other in the end. 
  Its predictable... and boring.  Some may consider this a spoiler alert, but I knew vaguely the same thing before I saw it and if anything I adjusted my expectation of the movie accordingly. Which was the best thing that could've happened since I was expecting a big action vehicle.
The ending is practically ambiguous. Its about the push forward, the will to survive, 'the last good fight' as it were. Not about the rescue helicopter swooping in at the perfect moment and saving the day. Do -not- expect that. Its not going to happen.

  This movie is an experience. Its not casual viewing. Not for me at least, its emotionally gripping.  Something to think about after the end credits role. Its thought provoking for sure. Maybe not on a surface intellectual level, but on a deeper emotional level. Maybe I'm just reading into it, and maybe I'm not. But this, for me, is the foremost ideal life, death, and survival movie of the last decade.  And I seem to stumble across most.  The acting is completely convincing, I was immediately drawn in, and totally hooked. The score excellently compliments the acting and the story, infiltrating scenes subtly and augmenting the actors' great performances, heightening the emotions on display.

  The Grey deserves a watch. Its incredibly well made. For those who are interested, and the ending is resolute enough for you, stay after the credits. But I could've easily done without that because the ending is amazingly powerful in its own right. Great flick.

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