Friday, January 27, 2012

The Grey Movie Review

My pretty girlfriend took me to see "The Grey" tonight, and boy was I blown away. The trailer does not do this film justice at all, I just wanted to see Liam Neeson box a wolf, so I was pleasantly surprised by how great a movie it was. (Update: This extended trailer is a bit better, but shows alot of footage which was not used in the film, mostly of the wolves).

It is not a cheesy Neeson as action hero type film.  So if that's what you expect prepare to be disappointed.  

It is a movie about death, what it means to die, and how a man faces his death. It is bleak poetry, terrible and beautiful- much like the lines of poetry which are dear to the main character:

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 

The pacing is great - the movie takes it's time. It is slow and drawn out when it needs to be, but can also shock you with how startlingly fast things can happen.  There is a sense of danger and urgency throughout the entire film, because you know that if the wolves don't get them they will freeze or starve anyway. Even when the characters are just standing still you are very aware that a race is on. I have read a few reviews wherein the reviewer complains that there are "too many shots of dudes just walking slowly through a forest" - you can really feel how cold and exhausted they are though, you can feel the supreme effort going into every footstep through that deep snow. I'd rather watch a movie about men struggling to keep moving in the cold than one with super-humans shooting rockets at wolves- but that's just me. 

The visuals are awesome too. There is such a stark and unforgiving beauty in the landscape, and it is all on such an epic scale that the human characters are reduced to tiny little black specks. The wolves are unfortunately in CG as is to be expected, but the closeup animatronics are pretty convincing. To the filmmakers credit we don't really see the animals all that much, usually they are just blurry shapes at the edges of the campfire. They are scariest when we don't see them anyway, because the threat of attack is always present.

The acting is really good throughout, and feels very authentic. The characters are mostly pretty relate-able, and although some don't have much character development they still feel like real people, and not just cut-outs or stereotypes. The character development we do see though, man- it goes deep, and it draws the viewer in.

Anyway- a great movie. I do not think you will regret seeing The Grey.

I'm going to do a D&D related follow up post to this soon.

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