Forget the wolves, the cliché plane crash, the blizzard and the survival movie undertones. They are only metaphors. This film is about the endurance of the body and spirit.
“The Grey” is a survival movie in its most primal form: fight and keep going, perish at the jaws of beasts or die because of the unyielding forces of nature.
Based on Ian Mackenzie Jeffers’s short story “Ghost Walkers,” “The Grey” illustrates the journey of a group of oil workers, lead by Ottway (Liam Neeson), who survive a plane crash in the Alaskan Tundra. They must confront harsh winter weather, a savage wolf pack and their radically different perspectives and survival choices.
“All the time, they are being pursued by a pack of wolves that are genetically almost prehistoric in their size and ferocity,” Neeson said in an interview.
Prehistoric is a good way to describe the wolves in “The Grey.” They are a metaphor for struggle, just like the blizzards and the cold, only more exaggerated to create the feel of impending doom.
Some may be repulsed during parts of this film because of the violence between humans and wolves. But in a somewhat twisted way, this adds to the raw, honest feel of the story.
The script drives the movie. The film’s plot is always tangible and real, never giving the viewer a second to question the harsh feeling of truth presented.
Accept what you see. Let the story take you into the fray.
The landscape is on the creepy side of eerie, and the moving orchestral soundtrack is beautiful, powerful, and as terrifying as sitting patiently at the base of an impending avalanche.
When the last frame fades away, it might be difficult to tell if you survived, but you’ll feel alive with the will to fight.