Written by / 1/28/2012 / No comments / , , ,

THE GREY

title: The Grey
year: 2011
cast: Liam Neeson
rating: **

Never has a cast of characters so deserved to suffer – they’re just begging for it...

That being a rowdy group of oil drilling roughnecks in Alaska, and one man, played by a brooding Liam Neeson, hired to keep wolves off the premises who, after a plane crash, are all left vulnerable to a surrounding pack: yellow eyes glowing in the dark like a cartoon and growls more befitting the MGM lion.

The camera shakes around so much the fanged antagonists are practically unseen, and thus, not very frightening. It’s basically a wraithlike feeding frenzy of shouting, screaming, and kicking to stay alive.

Eventually the body count dwindles to four survivors, and  a few of the performances stand out beyond Neeson’s maverick: especially Frank Grillo as an existential badass who can’t admit he’s scared to death.

Even the well-acted campfire scenes, as the men expose their soft side in the face of doom, drag so long you'll forget what the movie's about. Till the growling continues and the group ventures further towards… where exactly? Since no one had much of a life to begin with, it’s hard to imagine, or care about, anyone surviving.

But the main problem is the nerve-wracking direction that, with the jangly, documentary style camerawork, does successfully put you into the situation – only it’s not a place you'll want to be for very long. (For a much better film with practically the same premise, rent THE EDGE, where the characters go through hell, not the audience.)
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