Nathanael Green's Blog

An advertising copywriter, novelist, and freelance writer's brain goo.

Not a Review of The Grey

with 7 comments

Reviews aren’t my forte, especially not of movies. So this isn’t a review.

Instead, it’s a challenge for those of you who’ve got the stomach for it. And an education for anyone trying to tell a story that will wrench your audience’s emotions.

Go see The Grey.

I’d wanted to see this movie ever since I saw this trailer:

Then, a friend mentioned that it’s an “existential action flick” and I was completely sold.

Not to mention it’s got Liam Neeson in it, which, you know, gives any movie an extra thousand points on my kick-ass-o-meter.

We saw The Grey at 10 am last Saturday.

I’m still recovering.

This movie is intense, folks. The performances are stellar by the entire cast and Liam Neeson absolutely shreds your heart as Ottway. The scenes are beautiful and painful, the action and emotions brutal in a way that made us both comment on how we felt shaken, perhaps even a little ill, by the stress of this movie.

And from a storyteller’s point of view, it’s a wonder. The dialog is fairly sparse, but the director, Joe Carnahan, gets us to feel every ounce of terror and love and despair and anger—and it’s all done through the interactions of a few tough guys and a snarling wolf or two.

I’ll not lie: I don’t think it’s an easy movie to watch. But it was a fantastic, thoughtful and thought-provoking piece of storytelling. And it’s easily made it into my top 5 favorite movies.

So go see The Grey. And if you can, I might suggest planning to spend the afternoon in the sunshine after you do.

Written by Nathanael Green

February 1, 2012 at 11:56 am

7 Responses

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  1. It sounds great, but frankly, I don’t know if I’m up to this one, Nate.


    February 4, 2012 at 12:58 am

    • It really is that good. But, like I said, it’s a bit intense. I hope you’ll keep it in the back of your mind, though, if you ever hit just the right mood to enjoy it.

      Nathanael Green

      February 8, 2012 at 12:22 pm

      • Maybe I can handle it on Netflix. I will remember it.


        February 8, 2012 at 10:02 pm

  2. this movie was amazing! *ALL SPOILERS FROM THIS POINT ON* People keep crying about how it made no sense that they left the safety of the plane in order to stay alive. Well, as former veteran i know a little about having to survive in the wilderness, especially in the cold. The shell of the broken plane actually creates a colder atmosphere, as the cold temperatures are absorbed by the metals in the wreckage. Their likely-hood of freezing to death would have been greater had they chosen to stick around. Let us not forget that they crashed in a wide open space which worsened the wind chill factor ten fold due to the lack of obstacles in the winds path of resistance. Leaving that area would have been a good idea since the forest provided a natural barrier to the wind, not to mention an added source of burning material. It was clear early on that they had began to run low on fuel as well. No fuel equals no fire. There are only so many things that could catch fire in the wreckage, and even then it would have been hard to start a fire without a good source of ignition. Wood burns easiest. Another thing to consider is trying to find a meal. In the wilderness animals use the forest as shelter. That would have been the place to look for meals (as it is made clear at the end of the movie). Another complaint I keep reading about how calm the men seem to be amid all the impending danger lurking in the shadows. I can honestly say that after having been put in some pretty dramatic life altering events I have had my share of very similar moments that might seem too fake for anybody who has never had to live through such dramatic moments (and i hope that most of you never have to). It is a type of calm and acceptance that takes over you when you have no choice about the dangers you might be in (ask a veteran). Lets move on to how put off people are with the fact that one of the men took a leap of faith across that cliff. I do not know how else to put this, but these men just survived a plane crash, and have been getting picked off on by one either by nature or wolves up to this point. I think that taking a leap of faith at point is a pretty easy thing to do, given their present state. Lets move on to how people keep complaining about the vulgar language… really? I do not know that even requires an explanation, but here are some key factors to take in: a bunch of oil riggers (sexually deprived), cold ass weather, wolves, plane crash, starving, no internet! I would be cursing like there was no tomorrow, and in these men’s cases that is exactly what they were doing. Moving on, it was frequently mentioned that the portrayal of the wolves was so inaccurate. Over and over i kept reading about how wolves do not act like this, and how there have been so few, if any recorded incidents were wolves attacked humans. As much as i agree with a lot of this, we must also remember that we are sitting in a movie theater were having a pack of mild wolves would have made for a pretty neat family venture, not to mention change the ending drastically. It would have been a petting fest of a movie. Another thing to consider is that although wolves are not likely to attack unprovoked, they are still wild animals who, like most animals, will become very territorial if an outsider comes into their hunting grounds (which in this case, that is exactly what happened). Towards the end of the movie Neeson’s character fails to save a man from drowning and then finds himself drenched in freezing water. When he gets to his final location he begins to take off his heavy soaked jacked and seems to not even feel the effects of the sub-freezing environment. This type of numbness happens when the body is shocked beyond its limits. At that point he was just feeling weighed down by his heavy jacket. It is advised to remove soaking wet garments when in an environment such as this, so as to prevent from freezing any faster (you would normally try to build a fire to try to warm and dry your clothes, but we all know he did do get around to doing that). The final scene is just a hit or miss with people. some people went in thinking it was wolf punching extravaganza (i admit i was one of those too, the trailer may have misled some folks), but i came out of that theater with new found respect for how he decided to end it. After all, the movie was deeper that anybody expected it to be. And after such a poetic face off with the alpha male, throwing in a CGI team death match would have ruined it for me. But i really do understand why people would be mad about not seeing it. In the end, though, the pieces just seem to come together. And when you understand how they do come together, the movie ends up being one of the best films i have seen in a long time. I hope that people will find this review to be helpful. go see THE GREY!

    live or die on this day

    February 17, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    • It’s good to hear you enjoyed it as much as I did. A lot of people are questioning the ending, but for me, it’s perfect.

      Nathanael Green

      February 23, 2012 at 2:53 pm

  3. Dude, I am so removed from the Internet anymore, I just saw this post of yours for the first time.

    Great, great flick. Unrelentingly brutal. Physically and philosophically draining. I think this is Carnahan’s best film to date, and that’s saying a lot because Narc was pretty effing awesome.

    I remember after we left the theater and were discussing this. I was still feeling physically ill.

    Brian O'Rourke

    February 22, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    • Haven’t seen Narc yet, though I might have to add it to the list.

      Now that you’ve come off The Grey for a while, do you think you’ll watch it again?

      Nathanael Green

      February 23, 2012 at 2:56 pm

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