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Blu-ray Review: The Grey
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The Grey Blu-rayThe Grey
Blu-ray l DVD
DIRECTOR: Joe Carnahan
WRITER: Joe Carnahan, Ian Mackenzie Jeffers
STARRING: Liam Neeson, Dermot Mulroney, Frank Grillo, Dallas Roberts, Joe Anderson, Nonso Anozie, James Badge Dale, Ben Bray
Open Road Films
RELEASE DATE: May 15, 2012

Desolate wilderness. A dire situation. Liam Neeson. A pack of hungry wolves. Clearly, The Grey is no slapstick comedy.

The premise is simple: a group of oil workers in the great white North and the man who protects them from wolves as they work are involved in a horrific plane crash. Out of many, only eight of them survive. But the plane crash was just the start. Led by the man who normally protects them, a survivalist named Ottway (Neeson), the group of men try to figure out their best chance for survival while also having to fend off an angry pack of wolves whose den is nearby.

As each minute passes, the group loses more and more hope. But Neeson pushes them to keep fighting…even as he himself battles his own will to push on and survive.

The Grey is a movie I’ve been looking forward to for a while now. Having not had the chance to catch it in theaters (they come and go so fast these days!), it was exciting to finally get my hands on the Blu-ray. And speaking of Blu-ray, it is highly recommended that you do check the movie out in that format if you have that option. The movie looks phenomenal—especially when it’s snowing—and I fear it wouldn’t quite pop the same on DVD. Winter is gone here in New England, but watching this movie I felt its chill one last time.

As for the movie itself, let’s not kid ourselves: it’s not one for those seeking complexity. The plot is basic, there’s little character development, and it can even be predictable at times. Thankfully it’s not a movie trying to be what it’s not. It’s a movie about the brutalities of surviving an unsurvivable predicament, and in that regard it does a great job. The plane crash scene is intense, the reality of such a situation is presented in graphically real detail, and psyches are breaking down accordingly. All of these things combine to create an intense thriller that can be hard to watch, but that you won’t be able to look away from.

For the most part I really enjoyed The Grey. In fact, almost all of it was impressive. Almost. There appears to be a line drawn in the sand as to whether the ending was good or bad with plenty of people standing on both sides. I stand on the latter side. As it turns out, the way the movie was ended is a tremendous pet peeve of mine. Some have no problem with it, and that’s fine too, but for me it’s a shot to the jaw, and that’s depressing because it was all going so well I prematurely thought I would be pleased throughout.

NOTE: Some of you extreme spoiler haters may want to stop reading here as there will be mention of what type of ending it is and you might be able to draw your own conclusions from there. No details about what actually happens will be shared.

I’m obviously not going to go into details about the ending, but let’s just say things wrapped up a little abruptly for my personal taste. My state of mind being when I go into a movie—any movie at all—I go into it expecting to be told a story. When that story is incomplete or missing pieces or has no closure, it’s frustrating. Some people like using their own imaginations to create whatever ending they think fits best. I am not one of them. I can sit and quietly ponder what may or may not have went down for hours, but knowing that the writer, director, and/or anyone else privy to such information knows what really happened and made the conscious decision not to share that with us…that eats at me.

This one complaint of mine isn’t a killshot by any means, I don’t want to give that impression. But instead of the movie being great, which it certainly had the potential to be, it ended up only being good in the end. The only other minor complaint I have is the lack of special features. There’s only a few deleted scenes on this version of the Blu-ray (with other editions sure to follow at a later date), and I was really looking forward to seeing what went into making the film and, naturally, hoping to find an alternate ending or two they may have cut.

All in all The Grey is still very much worth checking out. If not for my one qualm it would have easily left me thrilled and smiling, and, in all likelihood, it will have that very effect on many of you who aren’t so perturbed by certain filmmaking choices. I still absolutely plan on watching it again and hoping it grows on me from there. It wouldn’t be the first time, it won’t be the last.


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