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On The Grey :: This is a relatively unknown thriller movie starring Liam Neeson in a human battle against nature and its creatures. The movie can be further remembered for the poem which is recited in the movie: “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”. These are very strong lines according to the situation, and written by Joe Carnahan the director of the movie, this poem is more suitable to the age of civilization rather than that of world in the middle of nowhere. It is more of a man against nature stuff for sure, but on another level, we can see a survivor horror of another kind, this one being a thriller which involves man fighting against forces which are stronger and smarter than the average zombie in the survival horror movies. It is also an action-adventure movie where a group of men, especially one man is brought down into a world of chaos just as he thought he would be back to civilization. Yes, where there is no order or civilization, there is to be chaos, and the ultimate result is mostly death.
What is it about? :: John Ottway (Liam Neeson) is the hero of the story, who works in Alaska. He is an efficient shooter whose job is to kill gray wolves which regularly threaten an oil drilling camp. He has visions of his wife and lives with a desire to kill himself, something which he just cannot accomplish. He is kind of a loner, and does what he is supposed to. But all these have to change as their plane crash on a return trip home. The survivors of the plane crash is lead by John, but not everyone agrees to his leadership. Soon they find that they are in the territory of a gray wolf pack, and as long as they don’t get out of there, the creatures shall hunt them. As one of them (Ben Bray) is killed by the wolves at night, they decide that they have to keep moving, and it would be better for them to be away from the crash site as much as possible. With no idea of which way to go towards civilization, or at least away from the wolf territory, all of them have to depend on their own instincts to survive in the extreme climate. Are they into the last good fight they will ever know? Only time will tell.
The defence of The Grey :: You might know that having Liam Neeson there is the biggest and the best thing for this movie. Let me tell you that this movie is not about wolves, and therefore lets not think about how they are acting in this one – for this movie is about courage and the humanity’s everlasting desire for survival. You already know that man can be destroyed, but can’t be defeated. It doesn’t matter how weak you are, it is the circumstance that makes you stand up and be tough. It has a powerful and yet never exaggerated depiction of a world which is cent percent against human existence, and ruthless instincts for survivals are asked for. Yes, people live and day on a day, and we are pushed into battles, sometimes you know that it is your last chance, and it is not an option to win. The Grey has beautifully captured all these scene by scene, with the acts and dialogues of the characters as well as the presence of snow and the wolves. The Grey is that thrilling movie which has nothing supernatural or extra-terrestrial and yet gives the feeling of something out of this world, and this success of the movie is a good sign for future.
Positives and Negatives :: There was a big chance that this movie was going to be set aside as just another movie which uses has a group of people trying to survive the snow and the wolves along with using Liam Neeson’s star value in attracting attention. But no, not with The Grey. It reminds us that movie is a craft and the director is the craftsman, and provided with someone of great caliber to support it from the inside, this is more than enough for making a fantastic movie. The first instinct of all of us might be to brand this movie as an action movie with Liam Neeson beating up wolves – partially right, and this one is also an adventure – there too somewhat right; but about all, this is a survival thriller, which keeps not only the wolves, but also ourselves in the hunt. There are no death-defying action – that should disappoint a few, and Liam Neeson is not right out of Taken or The A-Team, believe it. Instead, we have people who walk in the snow covered valley of shadow of death, with different beliefs, but hope for survival all the same. The movie’s snow world and repetitions might trouble a few, and it does have an unclear end and some drops of depression and pessimism at times.
Performers of the soul :: Liam Neeson activates the movie, runs the movie and ends it in style. The same director and actor comes together once again after The A-Team and unlike the strange modern world that our actor explored in the form of the thrillers Unknown and Taken, this one takes the viewers right back to an age where the animals and nature had the upper-hand. My favourite movie of his shall always be Schindler’s List, and I do feel that everyone would agree. His presence in Les Miserables would comes second best, in a role which involves selflessly saving the innocents yet again. I would say that his performance in The Grey stands next, as he plays a man who is himself a hunter, and becomes as much a predator as the wolf by the end. There are those moments of Ra’s al Ghul in Batman Begins that comes to the mind when this man who had made a great villain comes to the scene once again never to give up. Our character doesn’t lose hope, and neither does he loses his courage, and Liam Neeson makes sure that the character is awesome. I am looking forward to his A Walk Among the Tombstones, as it sounds interesting, and there is also the movie with an earlier release date – Non-Stop.
Soul exploration :: The wolves are more of the symbol of what attacks us in the real life, taking the individuality out of us, making us afraid and act like what we are expected to be. The nature has its fury and so do the wolves, but in our civilized world, we suffer from the same attacks, not just physical, but also of intellectual and spiritual nature, as we are forced to give away our beliefs due to many reasons – the wolves can be a lot of things, as our right to believe in something or the right to be someone is taken away. Yes, the future dystopia will be based on materialism alone, as art, literature and religion will be taken away. We already know how much the courses on arts are suffering and how the current society has taken away imagination in favour of logic. They have marked their territory, and wolves continues to take many new forms, and the support that most of them receives continues to increase. Obviously most of the society consider us students of arts as worthless, and they kill us like these wolves, with their teeth and claws supported by the climate which favours them. They try to make us believe that we have studied an inferior course – do survive, like Liam Neeson, for we struggle more than anyone else, caught between the community reservations after which we General category people get none.
How it finishes :: How well The Grey is taken, goes beyond comparisons. It doesn’t have that much inside it if you just watch it and leave it, and it will be basically a man – wolf battle against all odds. The wolf is often more than just a creature, and when the nemesis is also a philosophy, there comes the epic struggle. Beautifully shot with its visuals and sounds which produces depression as well as intensity, the movie will be a treat for most, and might not gather the attention of a few others. Liam Neeson is the catalyst that this movie needed, and anyone else would have not worked the movie in the same movie. The Grey is more of what the title suggests, it is more grey than anything else, with no black or white, just the struggle for survival as the humans face the sure mortality when they least expect it, and that too of a horrible kind. By the end, there is death, and still there is the courage to take the fight to the wolves as there is that last battle, to live and die rather than to live or die – for to live or to die is not an option, as people live and die and some part of us can always be dead and buried, even with immortality continued to be given that significance that it deserves.
Release date: 27th January 2012
Running time: 117 minutes
Directed by: Joe Carnahan
Starring: Liam Neeson, Frank Grillo, Dermot Mulroney, Dallas Roberts, Joe Anderson, Nonso Anozie, James Badge Dale, Jacob Blair, Ben Bray, Anne Openshaw
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