REVIEW: The Grey

6 10 2012

At its core, Joe Carnahan’s “The Grey” desperately wants to be a “127 Hours,” a deeply personal and intimate drama about the pitting of the human will against an unforgiving wilderness.  And while elements of that thematic narrative creep through the cracks at times, the movie falls far short of achieving any sort of meaningful revelations about our humanity at its most raw.

“The Grey” begins like the television show “Lost” – a bunch of strangers survive a plane crash in the desolate non-continental United States – but then proceeds like a “Final Destination” movie … with wolves!   If the movie didn’t have such a massive stick up its behind, it would have been a fantastic “Final Destination 6.”  (Or maybe more like a “Final Destination -1” since it’s so humorless.)

I mean, it’s just hard to take a movie seriously when it moves so predictably towards its end as everyone meets their end … one … by … one.  Carnahan’s uneven direction doesn’t help matters, dulling any chance of sympathy we might have for Liam Neeson’s Oskar Schindler ruthless daughter-saving dad John Ottway, the group’s de facto leader.  Sure, Neeson has some moments where he gets to curse God and his fate, but those aren’t anything new.  Just like the rest of the movie.

And then there’s the matter of the ending.  Some will praise it because they perceive it to be poetic, lyrical, beautiful in its ambiguity.  I found it inconsistent with the rest of the movie and a reprehensible attempt to turn a horror concept into art-house drama merely by refusing to come up with a satisfactory ending.  C

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