‘The Grey’ brings short story of survival to life

Adventure seekers and adrenaline junkies will find “The Grey,” a thriller directed, written and produced by Joe Carnahan, to be a film in which the focus is almost predictable.
The ultimate fight for survival of man versus nature takes a spin into man versus animal in “The Grey,” which was released Jan. 27.
Those who are more pacifistic will find themselves at the edge of their seats waiting anxiously for the next scene.
“The Grey” is based on a short story called “The Ghost Walker” by Ian Mackenzie Jeffers and tells the story of seven rough men who survive a terrible plane crash in the terrain of Alaska but do not survive the attacks of wolves.
John Ottway, played by Irish actor Liam Neeson, is a sharpshooter who defends his co-workers from aggressors in an oil refinery.
The skills Ottway learns in his career help him later to defend himself and his team for survival.
The film opens into a bar scene where Ottway goes to pick up courage and contemplates suicide while reminiscing on the absence and death of his wife.
Perhaps the Oscar-nominated actor found that his character hits close to home as he lost his wife actress Natasha Richardson in a skiing accident.
Throughout the movie, and particularly in dangerous situations, Ottway remembers glimpses of his wife as he lays next to her and she tells him “don’t be afraid.” These words give him hope as he loses his friends one by one to the elements.
The wolf hunter takes the lead and off they go to battle harsh winds, snowy days and frightening nights. But along the way the group must learn to deal with the deaths of their fellow buddies who die of shock and injuries after the plane crash.
Dragging their feet through about four feet of snow, the members face their biggest fears. Diaz, played by Frank Grillo, leaves his pride aside and accepts his fear.
Talget, played by Dermot Mulroney, does not succeed in overcoming his fear of heights as he tries to cross a river, suspended on a rope from one cliff and into the forest.
Another character is swept off by the rushing river and drowns. One suffers from hallucinations because of the altitude, one gets eaten by a pack of wolves while another simply gives up and stays behind. Ottway is the last man standing.
What makes this movie less impressive than its potential is the obvious computer editing in portraying the wolves as huge monsters. The creatures oftentimes seem realistic but there are a few screenshots were they look awfully fake.
What is great about this movie is the suspense and action in it. The gushing scenes where the wolves attack the humans one by one left me at awe and feeling sympathetic for the innocent victims. The oozing blood made me turn away but it all adds to the ghastly effect.
Carnahan also incorporates a message into the film that sets this movie apart from others in this genre. It follows a man’s journey through the most difficult parts of his life showing his growth after watching his father lose a battle to alcoholism.
The main character lives by his father’s words, “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.”
With these words, Ottway picks himself up and decides to defend his life until the end as he is surrounded by wolves.
“The Grey” runs at 117 minutes, is rated R and is playing at the Cinemark Towne Center in Conway.

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