Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Grey Brings A Box Office Triumph

In The Grey, Liam Neeson's character leads an unruly group of oil-rig roughnecks when their plane crashes into the remote Alaskan wilderness. Battling mortal injuries and merciless weather, the survivors have only a few days to escape the icy elements— and a vicious pack of rogue wolves on the hunt— before their time runs out... oh and you can expect it to run out... The Grey has Liam Neeson at his best, an outstanding movie that will have you gripping the edge of your seat. Some parts of the movie are slow, and people maybe upset by the films tone and ending. 

From the literary classic Moby Dick to the groundbreaking motion picture JAWS, one of the most enduring popular narratives has centered around the conflict between man and nature. Now comes an engaging new adventure about ordinary men stranded in the wilderness and pitted against impossible conditions and even more nightmarish predators. In THE GREY, set in the frozen mountains of Alaska, a pack of angry, snarling, bloodthirsty wolves are in dogged pursuit of human prey. As they pick off their helpless victims one at a time, the chances of survival for the last men standing just becomes more and more remote, which is scary. 

"This is a hard-core survivalist film," says director and co-writer Joe Carnahan, whose previous hits include Narc and Smokin' Aces. In The Grey, a group of men must fight for their lives against the extreme cold and snow as well as a hungry pack of wolves protecting their den. "If you're afraid of wild animals or plane travel, this movie will put you off for a good, long time." 

"The picture crosses numerous genres," says producer Jules Daly. "It's a thriller. It's a horror film. It's a character-driven drama of men struggling to survive." Based on the short story "Ghost Walker" by Ian Mackenzie Jeffers, The Grey marks the second collaboration between Carnahan and international superstar Liam Neeson (Taken, Star Wars Episode I, Schindler's List), who previously teamed for the 2010 action-comedy The A-Team. Serving as producer and executive producer respectively on The Grey are Ridley and Tony Scott, who were also behind The A-Team. Nature is a scary place. Scientists depict humans as the top of the food chain. We are because of our superior intelligence and dominance; our current society is proof of that, even if we are still virtually primitive by our actions. It is only when we leave the comfort of our reason-driven domain that we are truly helpless. Even the most experienced survivor cannot survive the wilderness for long. There is a reason why animals, wolves specifically, are masters of their domain, and we are the prey, not the hunter. 

We follow Ottway (Neeson) a man who is hired to protect workers at an oil refinery from any predator that tends to attack them. On their trip back home, harsh weather conditions causes their jet to crash, with only 7 survivors. Their location could not be any better ,for they find themselves in gray wolf territory, and are picked off one by one. However, the story goes far beyond that. The movie deals with thoughts of suicide, the elements of death, philosophy, bad luck, survival, and if you analyze it a little more, twilight.  

Liam Neeson is physically up to the task in the harsh conditions his character battles in the cold, and is mentally prepared to venture al of Ottway's weaknesses. We are given flashes of his wife, that can only lead us to think she is no longer with him. Neeson explores these weaknesses. He displays a character wanting to leave the realm of life and enter the celestial one. It's only when the plot begins to take charge can we decrypt the words "wish granted". The other actors play their parts very well, displaying just how fragile and human people are when faced with danger and predators. We can admit that in our own world we can't help but establish our own territories; "big talk" because we want to prove how bad ass we are. To the vicious bwolves, we're just playthings, like mice to a hungry cat. 

"The Grey triggered something very primal inside of me," says Neeson, who initially heard of the project while conducting a string of press interviews with Carnahan for The A-Team in Berlin and later asked the director about the project over a lively dinner in London. After seeing the script, he quickly signed on for the lead, knowing full well that Carnahan would strive for realism by shooting on location near the sub-artic zone. "When I read the script, I was 57 years old, and the little boy inside me thought it would be great to take on such a demanding role," says Neeson. "I wanted audiences to say 'Wow, how did you guys do that?' At the same time, I was thinking, 'Jeez, can I physically do this?'"

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